The Ultimate Buying Guide
If you’re reading this, I bet you’ve already been captured by the beauty and allure of ultra-rare gemstones. You’re also probably more than a little confused at what is most important when shopping for your next exquisite jewelry piece. Don’t worry!.…we’ve put together three quick tips to help you confidently navigate the discovery and purchase process. After all, confidence is key when making any purchase.
1. Do your research!
Who. Chances are you already own diamond or colored gemstone jewelry and know the importance of doing research before you make a purchase. When shopping for rare gemstones, however, it’s equally important to understand who you are buying from. The purveyors of exotic gemstones, like alexandrite's, must be established and experienced with handling rare gems. Mark Henry’s exclusive focus on the natural alexandrite allows the brand to be an authority on exotic gemstones and clearly demonstrates their expertise with the availability in the global market.
Where. Alexandrite (BeAl2O4) is a type of chrysoberyl that was found in the Ural Mountains, Russia in the 1830's. After that mine was depleted there have only been a few deposits discovered that yield alexandrite with a strong color change. As of today, the best quality alexandrite's come from Southeast, Brazil. There are other deposits in Madagascar, Ceylon and India that yield natural alexandrite, however, Brazilian quality is regarded as the highest quality due to the intense color change and clarity of the stones. To ensure you are buying the highest quality, make sure you are shopping for Brazilian or Russian alexandrite that experiences a change from reddish purple to greenish blue.
Why. The most common question a first time alexandrite collector usually asks is, '"why are alexandrite's so rare?" It's due to the extremely unique composition of minerals that create the color change we love, it is very difficult to find a source of this natural gemstone. Think about this....we went almost 100 years without finding a single source of alexandrite. Mark Henry has been the industry leader in alexandrite jewelry since 2004 and mines less than 2,000 carats of the highest quality gemstones each year. For comparison, 133 million carats of rough diamond are mined annually.
2. Understand what drives value!
Avoid the sticker shock and know what you’re willing to compromise on. This is true when shopping for gemstone jewelry of any kind, but especially so for ultra-rare gemstones that are more expensive. Knowing the value associated to each quality of a particular gemstone is vital to ensuring you get the very best. For instance, the most important quality of an alexandrite stone lays in the degree of color change it experiences in different light sources. For Paraiba tourmaline, the highest quality gems have neon blue colors with strong saturation, and the stronger the hues, the higher the quality. That said, you are buying a piece of jewelry and not a loose gemstone, so it’s also really important to know that the piece has been expertly crafted to strategically display the best elements in these rare, valuable stones. There are very few industry participants who are involved in the mining process and will also design jewelry settings for these stones. Mark Henry is involved in the full process from mining, design, and manufacturing, which enables them to have a holistic perspective on how to best use these exotic gems in 18kt gold jewelry.
3. Always get an expert opinion
Having confidence in who you are making your purchase with is so important. This is where doing your research will really come in handy. Buying from a company that specializes in the gemstones you are looking for ensures you will get certified gemstones and jewelry with quality craftsmanship. Other great resources for information and opinions are gem labs like GIA and AGL as well as a variety of online communities and social media groups. All of Mark Henry’s Alexandrite jewelry comes with a full certification from a GIA Graduate Gemologist.