AlternativesLapidary

Custom Loose Precision Cut Gems and Handmade Jewelry

North Carolina, United States · 455 Sales

AlternativesLapidary

Custom Loose Precision Cut Gems and Handmade Jewelry

North Carolina, United States 455 Sales On Etsy since 2010

5 out of 5 stars
(174)

Announcement   3-11-16 -- I am not accepting new custom orders at this time. I anticipate taking on new custom stone orders again this summer, either in late may or june. I will still be answering emails and fielding questions about stones currently in inventory, though, so feel free to ask! Email responses can typically take 3-4 days. Thanks very much!

Superlative quality loose faceted gemstones and cabochons, hand crafted by Philip Lagas-Rivera. Alternatives Lapidary provides a variety of natural and lab created stones for engagement rings, fashion and statement jewelry, daily wear and special occasion pieces.

I'm very pleased to finally be able to offer loose, perfectly cut moissanites in my shop! Moissanite is the gem trade name for the mineral silicon carbide. It is grown in perfect gem quality wafers in laboratories and cuts breathtakingly bright and fiery stones.

Also, I am happy to introduce a very good friend of mine, Hana, who will be contributing her own high quality cabochons to the store! She and I share a lifelong obsession with rocks and minerals, and she recently took to the wheel to start crafting gems of her very own. I am very happy to be able to provide a venue for her stones to reach the world.

I am currently offering limited custom cutting of lab created sapphire and spinel, and I am happy to ship all over the world! Thanks for looking and have a great day!

Announcement
Last updated on Mar 11, 2016

3-11-16 -- I am not accepting new custom orders at this time. I anticipate taking on new custom stone orders again this summer, either in late may or june. I will still be answering emails and fielding questions about stones currently in inventory, though, so feel free to ask! Email responses can typically take 3-4 days. Thanks very much!

Superlative quality loose faceted gemstones and cabochons, hand crafted by Philip Lagas-Rivera. Alternatives Lapidary provides a variety of natural and lab created stones for engagement rings, fashion and statement jewelry, daily wear and special occasion pieces.

I'm very pleased to finally be able to offer loose, perfectly cut moissanites in my shop! Moissanite is the gem trade name for the mineral silicon carbide. It is grown in perfect gem quality wafers in laboratories and cuts breathtakingly bright and fiery stones.

Also, I am happy to introduce a very good friend of mine, Hana, who will be contributing her own high quality cabochons to the store! She and I share a lifelong obsession with rocks and minerals, and she recently took to the wheel to start crafting gems of her very own. I am very happy to be able to provide a venue for her stones to reach the world.

I am currently offering limited custom cutting of lab created sapphire and spinel, and I am happy to ship all over the world! Thanks for looking and have a great day!

Phil Lagas-Rivera

Contact shop owner

Phil Lagas-Rivera

Rose Quartz -- 5.16 carat High Dome Cabochon
US$60.00
Citrine -- Golden Orange Cabochon
US$60.00
Orange Hessonite Garnet -- 1.12 Carat Marquise
US$40.00
Morganite -- 1.55 Carat Bar Oval
US$186.00
Phantom Citrine -- 5.2 Carat Emerald Cut
US$130.00
Tiger's Eye -- 15.1ct Bacon Cab
US$40.00
Arizona Jasper -- 29.71ct Teardrop Cabochon
US$100.00
Botswana Agate -- 14.74ct Freeform Tongue Cab
US$140.00
Hessonite Garnet -- 3.96 Carat Emerald Cut
US$158.40
Tiger's Eye -- Matched Sail Cabs
US$100.00
View all 52 items

Reviews

Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
(174)
Megs

Megs on Aug 9, 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely amazing white sapphire stone! Phil was a pleasure to work with, and answered all my questions quickly. The stone just arrived today and it's stunning. So excited to use it in a ring. Would thoroughly recommend Phil for anything you may need.

T B

T B on Jul 30, 2016

5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful stone delivered with courteous customer service. Would be happy to work with Phil again in the future.

sregdor

sregdor on Jul 27, 2016

5 out of 5 stars

27 JULY 2016 GORGEOUS GEMSTONES WITH MASTERFUL CUTTING. YOU CANNOT GO WRONG PURCHASING ANY OF PHIL'S CREATIONS. HE IS A PARAGON OF GEMSTONE ARTISTRY. PERFECTION !

View all 174 reviews

About

Choosing the Extraordinary

From the time I was a child, I've loved two things above all -- gemstones, and things made by hand.

We live in a time of inexpensive mass production. Taking the time to lovingly craft something by hand has become the exception rather than the rule. This is true of the jewelry industry as well!

99% of commercially available gemstones are cut overseas, in the lapidary equivalent of sweatshops. The stones are often uneven, deeply windowed, and have a lackluster polish.

With my work, I try to offer people a chance to choose the Alternative to commercial mass production, to choose a stone that was hand selected and hand cut to be the most beautiful stone possible from the rough rock.

It's not that the overseas cutters are unskilled! Quite the contrary! But these cutters are being paid pennies to produce as many stones as possible as quickly as possible. I am VERY lucky to have been born and raised in the West; I have the luxury of being able to take my time with a stone. I often try to emulate certain styles of cutting I see in commercial stones, styles that would be truly beautiful if the cutter had only had a bit more time.

I first learned to cut cabochons from my dad, who had taken some lapidary classes before I was born. I learned to facet as a teenager. At 20, I purchased my own faceting machine, and I've had stones on the brain ever since.

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Shop members
  • Phil Lagas-Rivera

    Owner, Maker, Designer

    Born and raised in West Raleigh, North Carolina, the son of two artsy people, a love of handmade things, underdogs, and doing things the hard way was instilled in him. He was pretty much doomed from the start.

  • Djinn aka Doodles

    Shop Dog

    Almost indistinguishable from a large ball of lint most days, DJ is a five year old rescue toy poodle. He's more than a little neurotic, but precious. His favorite things are walks, scritches and puppy play time.

  • Hana B

    Guest Poster

    Lived all over the place, currently lives in the hottest city in the US. Loves to make things by hand. She is new to both lapidary arts and silversmithing, and is making up for it by being obsessive in both collecting and learning.

Shop policies

Last updated on October 16, 2014
Welcome to my shop, and thank you for stopping by! I have been collecting and cutting gems and minerals on and off for most of my life. I first learned to facet when I was 16 at the NC State Craft Center in Raleigh, NC. A few years later I bought my own machine and have been cutting like mad ever since.

Why buy from me, when commercially cut stones are so much cheaper? There are several reasons. Here you will find only top quality, custom, hand-cut gemstones. You may be used to seeing commercially cut gemstones that are lopsided, terribly polished, whose facets don't meet, and that are completely see-through in the middle, with their only sparkle around the edges. I cut all my stones to the highest possible standard, to optimize brilliance and light return. My concern isn't churning out as many stones as possible as fast as possible. I am a craftsman and my goal is to bring out the best my material has to offer. Another reason to buy from my shop is to help support local, American craftsmen. Too many jobs in all sectors are being shipped overseas. It's important we don't lose all of the skills we're now outsourcing, and buying from an American craftsman helps keep money and jobs here.

Are all your stones natural? Unless otherwise noted, yes! I am not a trained gemologist..... YET. I am currently enrolled at the Gemological Institute of America, seeking my Graduate Gemologist certification. However, I am only at the beginning of my training. But, I have been collecting and handling stones since I was quite young. All the stones in my shop are natural, unless otherwise noted. I do cut synthetic stones quite often, especially sapphire, and when I sell them here they will *always* be clearly marked as synthetic.

What about treatments? Often when I buy rough, treatments are not always disclosed, but whenever I know a stone is treated, I will of course disclose that information. However, it is important to realize that in this day and age, nearly 100% of gemstones are heat treated before they ever reach the cutter's table. Heat treatment to enhance color is a common practice and does not mean that a stone is less valuable.

Accepted payment methods

  • Accepts Etsy gift cards
Payment
A deposit of approximately 50% is due up front on all custom orders. This deposit is non-refundable, and pays for the rough material plus some of my time in cutting the stone.

I accept PayPal and direct payment through etsy.
Shipping
I ship all my orders USPS Priority Mail with delivery confirmation and insurance to the total value of the order. Orders over $500 are shipped with signature confirmation by default. Signature confirmation for orders under $500 is available at no extra charge upon request :)

I also ship quite promptly, within 1-2 days of purchase. I am happy to ship internationally. If I don't have specific shipping rates set up for your country, please message me and I'll be happy to make special arrangements for you.
Refunds and Exchanges
Returns and exchanges will be handled on a case by case basis. No returns or exchanges will be considered after 14 days from date of purchase. Buyer is responsible for all shipping charges in case of return.

No returns will be accepted on stones marked as on sale.
Additional policies and FAQs
I am happy to do bulk cutting, if you have a large parcel of rough stones you would like to have finished.

I do not offer wholesale pricing, unfortunately--with gem cutting, there is no economy of scale like there is with say, baking or screenprinting. However, I am willing to negotiate on price or offer discounts on very large orders. Feel free to contact me with questions or offers!

Also, if you would like to have a stone cut to a "calibrated" size, to fit a pre-made setting, I am happy to do this for you. Normally, when I am sitting down to cut a stone, I am trying to get the largest, and most brilliant finished stone I can, without worrying about what will happen to the stone in the end, heh. But I can and am happy to cut calibrated sizes upon request.