When I got my first paycheck, like many other twentysomethings in those days, I wanted to spend it on some jewelry for my then girlfriend.
My mother advised me otherwise and this is what she said.
“Whatever you decide to buy, make sure it’s the best and it’s genuine.
Because if it’s not, sooner or later, it will break or fall apart or she’ll discover it’s not the real deal and she’ll think a lot less of you. As will everyone else”.
Thankfully, I followed her advice and didn’t buy the cheap jewelry I was thinking of.
30 odd years later I recalled her words when a good friend showed me a ring he had bought as an anniversary gift for his lovely wife.
He took me aside and quietly boasted about the low price he’d paid.
I asked him how he’d managed to get such a large stone for such a low price.
“Oh, it’s not real. It’s synthetic. Made to look like the real thing though.”
Later that evening his wife was showing me the ring and said that she was going to get it appraised for insurance.
I knew at that moment it would end in tears
And felt immensely sad for both of them.
It felt like he’d given her a bunch of artificial flowers instead of the real ones.
And it’s the same with Alexandrite.
There’s a lot of synthetic stones in the market that may look like the real thing – only they’re not.
They’re made in a pressure cooker oven in a lab in a few hours.
Whereas true alexandrite was created by aeons of natural pressure deep in the bowels of the earth.
In fact, there’s a lab in Thailand that produces over 100Kg a year of synthetic alexandrite.
Conversely, the single mine in Brazil we buy our stones from in Hematita - produces very few high quality natural gems.
We should know because we buy only the best direct from them.
And Safiya ONLY sells natural stones.
Alexandrite was originally mined in the Ural Mountains in Russia from the 1830’s onwards but those rich seams were depleted long ago. Today, the best stones come from the single mine in Brazil we buy from.
Of course, when there’s an extremely limited amount of natural gems being mined world-wide, their price inevitably rises. The Brazilian gems we purchase direct from the mine tend to be under 1ct and any much rarer, larger stones tend to be incredibly expensive.
Because of the rarity of natural alexandrite, people often ask if there’s any real difference between a natural alexandrite and one that’s created in a lab?
From a color change viewpoint, the answer is not really. Natural alexandrite changes from its natural glamorous bluish green in daylight to a rich, plum purple at night or under artificial light – as does one created in a lab. But, a trained eye can see the difference immediately between natural and artificial.
Whilst all our crafted jewelry pieces are accompanied by a Guarantee of Authenticity that our gems are pure and natural, we always advise customers to take any alexandrite ‘gem’ they have bought elsewhere to a reputed GIA lab to determine its authenticity.
A natural gem expresses so much more than love that it’s almost impossible to put into words. It’s a feeling that you value that love so much that you will gift something of great rarity to express it.To add to the wise words of my Mother all those years ago…”it’s the pride you’ll feel when you know you’ve bought the one you love something genuine. And your friends will know it too”
Like all precious jewelry, pieces containing Alexandrite should be treated with care and especially when cleaning.
Although it’s renowned for being a hard gem, the incorrect way of cleaning alexandrite can still affect it.
How do you know if your jewelry needs cleaning?
Most of the time you actually won’t, but minute amounts of debris from many sources can work their way onto the gems surface and, whilst it will not discolour it, can reduce the shine.
Make-up and hair spray can settle on both earrings and pendants or necklaces whilst dust, hand lotion and soap is most likely to affect rings and bracelets.
The best way of cleaning your precious alexandrite jewelry is to simply wash it in warm water with a few drops of liquid soap for a few minutes using as soft a cloth available.
It’s not recommended that it’s brushed with a nail brush, for example, as this can damage the setting over time. When the washing is complete, rinse it with cold water and pat dry with a soft cloth.
If you want the best cleaning from experienced hands, we at Safiya Alexandrites also offer a cleaning service for our valued customers. For more details please contact our Customer Care department on 1 213 327 0966 where we’ll be delighted to help.
Alternatively, an ultrasonic or steam cleaner can be used and they will deliver a truly professional finish. It’s not recommended to use an ultrasonic cleaner if your alexandrite has a Tungsten setting is the metal will be damaged.
If you want to purchase one yourself, you’ll find quite a few online. Otherwise your local jeweller may be able to assist.