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Well, how did I do with my wife’s Alexandrite ring?

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2014
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5,498
Random find of an Russian Alexandrite (or Vanadium Chrysoberyl, the vendor almost seem unsure), for anyone with a lot of cash floating around, good deal or maybe not a true alexandrite?


$32,000 - seriously!!
Some of the photos look like it changes from blue to orange (most definitely not Alexandrite colours). And Russian origin is difficult to substantiate.
Better upgrade my wee Alexandrite rings position in the jewellery box to “top tier” seeing as on the basis of that Alex, mine must be 9AE9D754-D9AC-469F-BABC-CDA11664ED0E.jpeg worth a packet!
 

LD

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Beautiful ring and stone.

But, a note about photography as it relates to color accuracy, especially with color change stones
...
In these pics the color of your skin changed dramatically and impossibly.

698547.jpeg

The problem is not your skin; It's the photography.
Specifically, the camera's white-balance setting did not match the light source used.

A two-second search turned up this for white balance on an iPhone, so you may find a better tutorial.

https://iphonephotographyschool.com/white-balance/

Since the color of your skin could not have changed that much, neither did the stone's color.
Perhaps have another go at capturing your Alex's color change under both light sources after reading about and practicing white balance for your iPhone.

You'll know you've nailed it when your skin is the same color in both pics.


Here's Kenny ... donning his flame suit.

478.jpeg

@kenny I could totally understand you wanting to input because your photography skills are well known however, please stop commenting on how to photograph Alexandrite because you have NEVER tried to do it. I reached out to you and suggested I bring some of my Alexandrite for you to try to photograph and you shut me down. Fair enough. No problem. However, please read what the experts say who HAVE tried to photograph Alex. If you'd like to argue with the GIA then I'm sure Robert Weldon would love your input on how it is easy to take photos of Alex.


This is what I was thinking but too shy to say.... :???:


@MjK1 - please read the article I've just posted. Kenny is talking out of his flame suit again.
 
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LD

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
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$32,000 - seriously!!
Some of the photos look like it changes from blue to orange (most definitely not Alexandrite colours). And Russian origin is difficult to substantiate.
Better upgrade my wee Alexandrite rings position in the jewellery box to “top tier” seeing as on the basis of that Alex, mine must be 9AE9D754-D9AC-469F-BABC-CDA11664ED0E.jpeg worth a packet!

Couldn't agree more @Bron357 - what on earth is going on with the colour change in Wildfishgems photos??? :lol:

Looks like I may be a millionaire judging by his prices!
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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30,617
@kenny I could totally understand you wanting to input because your photography skills are well known however, please stop commenting on how to photograph Alexandrite because you have NEVER tried to do it. I reached out to you and suggested I bring some of my Alexandrite for you to try to photograph and you shut me down. Fair enough. No problem. However, please read what the experts say who HAVE tried to photograph Alex. If you'd like to argue with the GIA then I'm sure Robert Weldon would love your input on how it is easy to take photos of Alex.





@MjK1 - please read the article I've just posted. Kenny is talking out of his flame suit again.

I claim little knowledge of color change gems.
I don't need it to recognize when someone doesn't do white balance.

I never said photographing Alex was easy.
White balancing cameras to match color-match the light used to take a pic is not hard to master.

The introduction of the Kodak Brownie camera 121 years ago made everyone think they are now a photographer, and whatever comes out of a camera is true.
There's even a saying accepted as gospel, "Cameras don't lie."
Well that's not true.

I respect your expertise on colored gems.
But if you're arguing the skin didn't change colors in the above two pics I don't know what to say.

I don't recall you telling me you'd "bring me Alex", and I certainly do not recall me "shutting you down".

If the skin changes color because of incorrect lighting/photography technique, so does everything else in the pic, apples, bananas, sandwiches, everything.

If the skin color is wrong, so is everything else.

But thanks for the link. :))
I will read it.
 
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Voodoo Child

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
29
I claim little knowledge of color change gems.
I don't need it.

I know about photography.
I know about skin.
I'm talking about photographing skin.

I never said photographing Alex was easy.
White balancing cameras to match color-match the light used to take a pic is not hard to master.

The introduction of the Kodak Brownie camera 121 years ago made everyone think everyone is now a photographer, and whatever comes out of a camera is true.

You have expertise on colored gems.
I have expertise on photography.

I don't recall you telling me you'd "bring me Alex", and I certainly do not recall me "shutting you down".

If the skin changes color because of incorrect lighting/photography technique, so does everything else in the pic, apples, bananas, sandwiches, everything.

If the skin color is wrong, so is everything else.

But thanks for the link.:))
I will read it.

The thing is though, the picture I originally posted more accurately represents what my eyes saw at that moment in time than a corrected color balanced photo. I didn’t change any of the settings on that photo. All I did was snap the pic with my phone and then post it. The incandescent bulb in that lamp made my wife’s skin look yellowish, and it make the stone in her ring have a reddish tint. Manipulating the image to make her skin tone match what it looks like in sunlight would not be an accurate portrayal of what that moment in time looked like. I’m not trying to take an artistic picture. I’m trying to show what my wife’s ring looks like under a specific lamp with a specific bulb.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
30,617
The thing is though, the picture I originally posted more accurately represents what my eyes saw at that moment in time than a corrected color balanced photo. I didn’t change any of the settings on that photo. All I did was snap the pic with my phone and then post it. The incandescent bulb in that lamp made my wife’s skin look yellowish, and it make the stone in her ring have a reddish tint. Manipulating the image to make her skin tone match what it looks like in sunlight would not be an accurate portrayal of what that moment in time looked like. I’m not trying to take an artistic picture. I’m trying to show what my wife’s ring looks like under a specific lamp with a specific bulb.

I get it.
A book I read changed me.
It taught me we can't always trust our senses.

It's a 407-pg University textbook called Sensation & Perception I found at a University book sale.
Publisher, Sunderland, MA
ISBN 0-87893-938-5
© 2006

The book's seven authors are leaders in the fields of ophthalmology, optometry, the specializations of psychology and psychiatry that research how the brain influences our perception of the signals it gets from our five senses.

It has sections on all our senses.
The 7 chapters on vision take up 203 of the book's 407 pages.

After reading it one understands why one cannot believe everything one sees.
I'll just summarize by stating, the brain messes extensively with the signals it gets from the eyes.

A good example:
Years ago I worked at a company with darkroom they developed photo-sensitive materials.
Instead of the expected red light, it had an intense yellow light.

When you first walk into the room the yellow is very harsh and disorienting.
But after 20 minutes you don't notice it.
The brain cancels out the yellow and everything looks "normal".
Byt then when you leave the room and return to regular light everything looks purple for a while.
Freaky.

We've all seen optical illusions that blow our minds.
The bottom line is, you cannot always believe your eyes.
Your brain messes with the signals from the eyes.

The camera it stupid in that it has only an eye but no brain.
Camera makers want to sell them and we want to buy them.
But few users want to do work and learn.
So they make cameras "automatic".
It works well enough for many things, but some things present a challenge to even the best cameras.
White balance is a perfect example.

The solution is learning how to adjust the camera so it can tell the color-truth.

Unfortunately 121 years of Kodak Brownie cameras through iPhones the promise of ease and automatic-ness has prevailed.
Manufacturers know that people vary, and few customers want to do learn, think, or do work.
 

LD

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
10,156
I claim little knowledge of color change gems.
I don't need it to recognize when someone doesn't do white balance.

I never said photographing Alex was easy.
White balancing cameras to match color-match the light used to take a pic is not hard to master.

The introduction of the Kodak Brownie camera 121 years ago made everyone think they are now a photographer, and whatever comes out of a camera is true.
There's even a saying accepted as gospel, "Cameras don't lie."
Well that's not true.

I respect your expertise on colored gems.
But if you're arguing the skin didn't change colors in the above two pics I don't know what to say.

I don't recall you telling me you'd "bring me Alex", and I certainly do not recall me "shutting you down".


If the skin changes color because of incorrect lighting/photography technique, so does everything else in the pic, apples, bananas, sandwiches, everything.

If the skin color is wrong, so is everything else.

But thanks for the link. :))
I will read it.

@kenny of course I'm not arguing that the skin tone has changed BUT in order to get a representative photo of an Alex you need to concentrate on the colour of the stone (with a colour changer) and not the surroundings. You don't do this with other gemstones and so I understand why you feel it's wrong. Unfortunately, this is a phenomenon only with colour changing stones and predominately Alex. You'll see in the link I gave above that it discusses this very issue.

In terms of shutting you down - have a look at the Alex thread. I mentioned I was coming to the US and would happily meet with you in order for you to photograph an Alex but you said you no longer meet PSers due to security issues. I understand that and it's fair enough but I did offer.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
30,617
@kenny of course I'm not arguing that the skin tone has changed BUT in order to get a representative photo of an Alex you need to concentrate on the colour of the stone (with a colour changer) and not the surroundings. You don't do this with other gemstones and so I understand why you feel it's wrong. Unfortunately, this is a phenomenon only with colour changing stones and predominately Alex. You'll see in the link I gave above that it discusses this very issue.

In terms of shutting you down - have a look at the Alex thread. I mentioned I was coming to the US and would happily meet with you in order for you to photograph an Alex but you said you no longer meet PSers due to security issues. I understand that and it's fair enough but I did offer.

You refer to "the Alex thread".
Sorry, I'm old with a fading memory, and not as familiar with CS or the CS forum as you are.
Could you please post a link to this thread?

On PS I've posted pics of tiny FCDs that at times have added up to well over 100K.
I used to go to annual PS events in LV with them in my pocket to share pure green, red, and blue diamonds with others in person.
They are not something most get see, let alone hold in their hands, often if ever.

While wonderful to share, I now understand this exposure to potential crime (of course not from PS members) now makes me cringe.
What was I thinking? :nono:

I've since learned more about how we may make ourselves crime targets with such naive Internet postings.

I'd hardly call protecting one's security in this matter, "shutting someone down".
Your poorly-chosen words are an insult that I did not deserve.

I'm looking forward to reading and digesting the article you linked.
I'm skeptical it could cancel what I've learned about white balance and photography, but it's good to keep an open mind to learning.
I'm happy to upgrade my understanding and post an apology if I learn I have been wrong.
I'm also fine with correcting anyone who is wrong, and not intimidated by letters following their name.

I'm less interested in being right, than I am in pursuing what is true.
 
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kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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30,617
I feel like you're turning this post into something it wasn't meant to be. Maybe I'm misinterpreting your intent. I don't think the OP was trying to misrepresent the color change.

I 100% agree that he wasn't "trying to misrepresent the color change."

But when people do not learn about and do white balance (telling the camera the color temperature of the light used to take the pic) misrepresentation of color is the result.

My intent is to inform folks about this very unfortunate reality of photography, which few are aware of.
 
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Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2014
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5,498
My 5 cents.
Most studio photos of Alexandrite are done at the “wavelength” designated for daylight being 5100k to 6200K. In “real life“ the wave light of daylight varies depending on time of day, time of year and location.
Daylight wave length is strongest in the blue of the spectrum and lowest in the red end.
An Incandescent light source traditionally was “candlelight” or in an artificial light source a wavelength around 3300K. Incandescent wavelength is low in the blue end of the spectrum and strongest in the red end.
Therefore the tone of skin will be visually different depending on the light source. This can’t be avoided.
I agree with Kenny that for accuracy of colour, white correction should occur BUT in the absence of white colour correction, otherwise green gems ie emerald or tourmaline still don’t change colour under incandescent light.
Alexandrite colour change effect is attributed to the Cr 3+ impurities in the BeAl2O4 atomic structure. However the fuller explanation is the response of the cone photoreceptors in the human eye. The ratio of green to red stimuli under different illuminants changes much more for an Alexandrite than it does for other normal coloured objects. This overrides the mechanism by which the human eye corrects for illuminance.
Remember that “trick photo” what colour were the stripes in dress? There was more than one combination depending on the individuals colour perception. Or the photo with the cylinder throwing a shadow on the black and white squares? Our eyes tell us there is a difference, that there is a darkening of the white square, when in fact there isn’t!
So perhaps the philosophical question is what we see really what there is to see?
 

LD

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
10,156
You refer to "the Alex thread".
Sorry, I'm old with a fading memory, and not as familiar with CS or the CS forum as you are.
Could you please post a link to this thread?

On PS I've posted pics of tiny FCDs that at times have added up to well over 100K.
I used to go to annual PS events in LV with them in my pocket to share pure green, red, and blue diamonds with others in person.
They are not something most get see, let alone hold in their hands, often if ever.

While wonderful to share, I now understand this exposure to potential crime (of course not from PS members) now makes me cringe.
What was I thinking? :nono:

I've since learned more about how we may make ourselves crime targets with such naive Internet postings.

I'd hardly call protecting one's security in this matter, "shutting someone down".
Your poorly-chosen words are an insult that I did not deserve.

I'm looking forward to reading and digesting the article you linked.
I'm skeptical it could cancel what I've learned about white balance and photography, but it's good to keep an open mind to learning.
I'm happy to upgrade my understanding and post an apology if I learn I have been wrong.
I'm also fine with correcting anyone who is wrong, and not intimidated by letters following their name.

I'm less interested in being right, than I am in pursuing what is true.

All I ask Kenny is that you get some Alex or find somebody who has a good one (that’s important) and try everything you’ve told us to do. If you succeed then great but please please please it’s difficult to talk about colour change gemstones when you keep pointing out how to take photos of something you’ve not tried. All I’m asking is that you listen to what collectors of Alex are saying - if we customers/sellers/laboratories all have the same issue don’t you think it signposts there may be a problem? Some posters are keen photographers and still haven’t achieved the photos you are implying is fairly easy. Once you’ve tried for yourself and succeeded then I will happily take on board your advice but you can’t really tell us what to do if you haven’t done it. The article I linked you to I’ve linked to you before also but I’m grateful you will read it.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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30,617
I've read the link.

I don't believe what I'm reading, and can hardly believe my eyes or take this "expert" seriously.
He starts the article correctly, but then he starts preaching photographic sacrilege.
It's like he suddenly dropped some LSD.

His process, outlined here, goes against everything competent photographers know ...
1. Set the camera's white balance wrong.
2. Accept the blue skin in one pic.
3. Then accept the orange skin in another pic.
4. Ignore the color of the skin in order to capture the holy magic manifesting in the magical gem.

I'm deeply skeptical.
My conclusion is I suspect it just is not possible to capture on pics whatever claimed freaky, if any, phenomenon occurs in this gem.

This guy is basically saying purposely leave the camera's white balance set incorrectly for the light source used, take the pic.
Then use advanced Adobe software to photoshop ONLY the skin and everything else besides the gem back to its correct color.
IOW use advanced software to select the gem in order to leave its color uncorrected, while taking out the blue in one pic, and the orange out of the other.
:doh:
That's what one would do to cheat, and make the gem's color change greater than it really is.
It sounds like what a dishonest gem dealer would do to pics for their online listings.

I don't care who the writer is, I cannot accept what every competent photographer knows is photographic blasphemy.

This really sounds like a religion telling us to just take it on faith.
No thanks, I'm a science guy not a religion guy.
 
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Voodoo Child

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
29
I followed your advice and the results didn’t match what I was seeing with my own two eyes. Sorry, but I’ll trust my lyin’ eyes. Also, if you want to talk about photography, please start your own thread instead of derailing mine. Or better yet, talk about it on a photographer’s forum instead of a gem forum. All I wanted was to know was if I did a good job picking out a stone, not whether or not my cellphone picture followed Kenny’s rules of photography.
 

LD

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Jun 29, 2008
Messages
10,156
I've read the link.

I don't believe what I'm reading, and can hardly believe my eyes or take this "expert" seriously.
He starts the article correctly, but then he starts preaching photographic sacrilege.
It's like he suddenly dropped some LSD.

His process, outlined here, goes against everything competent photographers know ...
1. Set the camera's white balance wrong.
2. Accept the blue skin in one pic.
3. Then accept the orange skin in another pic.
4. Ignore the color of the skin in order to capture the holy magic manifesting in the magical gem.

I'm deeply skeptical.
My conclusion is I suspect it just is not possible to capture on pics whatever claimed freaky, if any, phenomenon occurs in this gem.

This guy is basically saying purposely leave the camera's white balance set incorrectly for the light source used, take the pic.
Then use advanced Adobe software to photoshop ONLY the skin and everything else besides the gem back to its correct color.
IOW use advanced software to select the gem in order to leave its color uncorrected, while taking out the blue in one pic, and the orange out of the other.
:doh:
That's what one would do to cheat, and make the gem's color change greater than it really is.
It sounds like what a dishonest gem dealer would do to pics for their online listings.

I don't care who the writer is, I cannot accept what every competent photographer knows is photographic blasphemy.

This really sounds like a religion telling us to just take it on faith.
No thanks, I'm a science guy not a religion guy.

@kenny please go onto other forums to speak to people who HAVE tried to photograph Alexandrite As clearly you just don’t believe what we are all saying. Please note page 2 of the article I linked you to was a second photographer. If you know better than the GIA who HAVE got experience then fine.

In the meantime please stop derailing all Alex threads. This is a coloured stone forum not a photography one.

@Voodoo Child I’m so sorry your thread has gone south but rest assured you have a gorgeous Alex and treasure it because it’s going to be one of those stones that will be an heirloom piece in years to come (unless they find an enormous deposit of course).
 

Voodoo Child

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
29
@Voodoo Child I’m so sorry your thread has gone south but rest assured you have a gorgeous Alex and treasure it because it’s going to be one of those stones that will be an heirloom piece in years to come (unless they find an enormous deposit of course).
Thank you LD!
=)2
 

2Neezers

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
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Jan 8, 2014
Messages
1,558
Congratulations on the beautiful new alexandrite!:love: You put a lot of effort in to choosing just the right stone and you did fantastic!!! Your wife must be thrilled!
Also, Welcome to the forum! :wavey:
 

Nick_G

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
214
I can certainly vouch for the futility of trying to photograph an alexandrite that shows the colour my eyes see. My best specimen is a group of crystals in mica schist, almost certainly from Malyshevo. In cool daylight the crystals are a beautiful forest green to emerald green and look a bit like emeralds. However, no matter how much I fiddle with the white balance on the camera the crystals come out looking a muted teal green.

Similarly, the red/purple side of the alexandrite shows up much more with the camera in incandescent light. To get the crystals to appear dark red with my eyes I have to use candlelight or firelight.

I just wish I could capture the daylight green as it really is quite beautiful.
 
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