How To Buy An Alexandrite Engagement Ring NZ
Alexandrite stones are one of the very few gemstones that can change colour. During the day, they appear to be green-blue. At night, they appear more red. The intensity of this colour change is what determines an alexandrite stone’s price.
But there are a few other properties that can make or break it for it to be a great engagement gemstone. This article will walk you through everything that you need to know about buying an alexandrite engagement ring and where to buy one in New Zealand.
Should I Buy An Alexandrite or Diamond Engagement Ring?
An alexandrite engagement ring is a great option for an engagement ring if you want something that stands out. At Four Words, we are seeing more couples decide on gemstones such as sapphires and moissanite rings over lab grown diamonds. When surveyed, we found that the main reasons were around colour and wanting something unorthodox.
Alexandrite rings are both of these things. Not only does it change colour, natural alexandrites are extremely rare — moreso than mined diamonds. First discovered in 1834 in the Ural mountains of Russia, the only operating mine in the world is now in Brazil. Alexandrite is also the birthstone for those born in June.
But there are compromises going for an alexandrite over a diamond. Alexandrites are not as sparkly or as durable as diamonds (they are just as hard as sapphires and rubies).
Alexandrite engagement rings are extremely rare — and unique
Alexandrites belong to the chrysoberyl gemstone family and are much rarer than sapphires, rubies, moissanites and diamonds. They are also unique because not too many people know about them. Using an alexandrite gemstone as part of an engagement ring set, or on its own as part of an engagement ring or wedding ring is a great way to set a trend for those that are in the know.
Also, with echos of the art deco era, the alexandrite looks great as a solitaire ring in cuts such as emeralds, ovals, marquise, baguette, Asscher and the princess cut. Adding more stones can also mean that you can keep with tradition by adding diamonds or moissanites to complete your bridal set.
For example, this alexandrite bridal set features a 1.5 carat equivalent alexandrite round centre stone and two accenting pear cut diamonds on a 14K yellow gold ring. The wedding ring is tiara shaped featuring seven diamonds in full bezel also in 14K yellow gold.
Alexandrites change colour
Playing into the idea that alexandrite’s are unique, they can also change colour (gemstones that change colour are called pleochroic). Alexandrites can change colour because of the presence of chromium. This means that they change colour when they are under sun and incandescent light.
Below is an example of a red coloured (yes it changed colour!) oval cut alexandrite with an accordion of emerald cut diamonds.
Alexandrites are durable — but not as much as a diamond
The hardness of a material is measured on a relative scale called the Moh’s scale. The hardest thing on the Moh’s scale is rated 10. This is where diamonds sit. Moissanites are 9.5 and sapphires and rubies are between 8.5 and 9. Alexandrites sit around the same as sapphires with a Mohs rating of 8.5 making them ideal for everyday wear as part of an engagement ring, especially when paired with yellow gold or rose gold. It won’t need too much maintenance.
And at Four Words, we offer a lifetime manufacturing warranty and a complimentary annual ring clean.
Alexandrites are not as sparkly as diamonds
Diamonds get their sparkle from the refraction of light. Their lack of colour means that they actually bounce back a lot of the light. Alexandrites on the other hand absorb light which gives its rich colour and depth. But that isn’t to say that your alexandrite engagement ring won’t be sparkly. You can still get sparkle by opting for a multi-stone engagement ring with diamonds or moissanites featuring as accenting stones. On the flip side, you can use alexandrites as part of a halo ring with a lab created diamond centre stone.
Below is an example of a round cut alexandrite featuring six prongs with six accenting diamonds in 14K yellow gold. You can also see the alexandrite going through its colour change as we shined incandescent light over it to show you how the colour changes.
How To Buy A Good Alexandrite Gemstone
Buying an alexandrite in New Zealand can be quite a struggle. With jewellers from Etsy, Alibaba and Temu, it is hard to know if you are actually getting what you pay for — let alone something of quality (no hints needed here). At Four Words, we source the finest alexandrites from around the world for your engagement ring so we can take the stress away from you. This is with a focus on colour, cut, clarity and origin. We leave the carat up to you!
Alexandrites, as with most gemstones are not independently graded. It requires a trained jeweller to determine what makes an alexandrite good or bad. A great example of this is with colour. Because alexandrites change colour, they can be both blue-green or more red.
At Four Words we are trained to find colours and tones that suggest that the alexandrite is not good quality. This will include looking for browns and greys in the gemstone. We also try and determine the strength of the colour change of an alexandrite when we work with our suppliers.
The greater the change in colour, the more expensive the alexandrite will be.
The greater the clarity, the greater the quality of the alexandrite gemstone. Natural alexandrites often come with a poorer quality clarity but in saying that it does not affect the colour changing properties. Some alexandrites also has one single inclusion that runs across the gemstone in a straight line. While not eye clean, some people do love it more than an alexandrite that doesn’t have inclusions.
One of the biggest determinants of an alexandrite changing colour is its cut. Because of its pleochroic qualities, it makes cutting an alexandrite into a specific shape with its ability to change colour quite difficult. It’s a fine balance as not only are jewellers trying to capture an alexandrite’s ability to change colour, they are also making sure to make the most of the gemstone’s colour and ensure that it does not appear too dull.
Metals To Pair Alexandrite With
Alexandrites pair very well with yellow gold, rose gold and platinum. And while it can pair well with white gold, at Four Words, we don’t recommend it.
Alexandrite with yellow gold and rose gold
If you are looking for a ring that radiates warmth, then going for yellow gold or rose gold will be your best option. The alexandrite will oscillate between the two (blue-green being cold, and red being warm); and the yellow or rose gold will complement and contrast the gemstone.
Adding accenting lab grown diamonds can also balance out the sharp contrasts but we don’t believe this is necessary because of the rich colour tones of the alexandrite in the first place.
Alexandrite with platinum or white gold
If you are looking for an icy finish, then platinum or white gold are great choices. But at Four Words, we believe platinum is the much better option. White gold is yellow gold plated with rhodium. Because the rhodium is so fine, it wears away and the ring starts to look more yellow over time. Platinum on the other hand is stronger than gold and is less prone to scratch. This will ensure your icy white finish lasts longer.
The Best Place To Buy Alexandrites is Four Words
Buying an alexandrite in New Zealand is extremely difficult — especially for an engagement ring. At Four Words, you can design your own bespoke alexandrite engagement ring by going through our custom process. We have done over 1000 engagement rings in the last three years according to the Four Words standard, with numerous alexandrites. While other jewellers in New Zealand only have one or two rings, at Four Words, you can design your alexandrite ring exactly the way you want. We are also climate positive so when you buy from Four Words, you are leaving the world in a better place.
So if you are looking for an alexandrite engagement ring, book an appointment to share your ideas and brief to start the custom design process. We also offer free shipping around New Zealand and around the world.
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