AlternativesLapidary

Custom Loose Precision Cut Gems and Handmade Jewelry

Raleigh, North Carolina
| 1,179 Sales | 5 out of 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars

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Announcement    Quick Announcement -- As of July 2022, I am primarily offering shipping to the United States and Canada. If you are an international buyer, please contact me before ordering to ensure I'm able to ship to your country. Thanks!

Superlative quality loose faceted gemstones and jewelry, crafted by hand. Alternatives Lapidary provides a variety of natural and lab created stones for engagement rings, fashion and statement jewelry, daily wear and special occasion pieces. All stones (except for diamonds or accent stones) are cut in-house.

I offer custom gemstone cutting primarily in lab created sapphire, ruby, spinel, emerald and moissanite. Some other lab grown materials may be available on request. I offer custom jewelry services as well. Send me a message to discuss your project!

Please be sure to read over my shop policies before completing your purchases, and let me know if you have any questions about my stones, jewelry or policies. I'll be happy to answer them!

Announcement

Last updated on Aug 22, 2022

Quick Announcement -- As of July 2022, I am primarily offering shipping to the United States and Canada. If you are an international buyer, please contact me before ordering to ensure I'm able to ship to your country. Thanks!

Superlative quality loose faceted gemstones and jewelry, crafted by hand. Alternatives Lapidary provides a variety of natural and lab created stones for engagement rings, fashion and statement jewelry, daily wear and special occasion pieces. All stones (except for diamonds or accent stones) are cut in-house.

I offer custom gemstone cutting primarily in lab created sapphire, ruby, spinel, emerald and moissanite. Some other lab grown materials may be available on request. I offer custom jewelry services as well. Send me a message to discuss your project!

Please be sure to read over my shop policies before completing your purchases, and let me know if you have any questions about my stones, jewelry or policies. I'll be happy to answer them!

Items

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Phil Lagas-Rivera

Contact shop owner

Phil Lagas-Rivera

Reviews

Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
(399)
See reviews that mention:
  • johnnels14 on Sep 19, 2022

    5 out of 5 stars

    To say that Phil was a pleasure to work with is a huge understatement. I originally came to Phil because I was impressed by the beauty and quality of his stones, and while his work is incredibly exceptional and absolutely was everything I was looking for, I was blown away by the level of customer service he provided. He is so responsive and takes such care to provide helpful insights from his wealth of knowledge, lays out all your options in a way that is approachable and easy to understand, and walks you through the whole process at whatever speed is comfortable for you. Even when we wanted to make a small change to the finished piece (not due to any error on Phil’s part) he went above and beyond to accommodate our requests and ensure everything was perfect. He brought my vision to life with perfect execution.

  • Tom on Aug 23, 2022

    5 out of 5 stars

    The ring is even more beautiful in person than the pictures (and the pictures are beautiful!). Phil was a joy to work with. He was very patient and very eager to work with us on what turned out to be a complex custom design. He helped us go from vague dreams and visions into a spectacular ring that my Fiancee loves (she'll probably stop staring at it and squealing eventually?). If you are considering commissioning something from Phil do it! We'll be returning to him for wedding bands and maybe more (his stones are so lively and gorgeous)

  • Ellen on Aug 2, 2022

    5 out of 5 stars

    This is the second custom stone I commissioned from Phil and I absolutely LOVE IT! Phil is the best, he’s great at communicating and he’s helpful, kind, humble, and so talented. Phil’s work is always stunning and I love talking with him; I’ll never go anywhere else for my lapidary needs;) I also recommend him to everyone! More informative details about my experience: - Phil provided multiple options on what I was looking for (color wise) and educated me on the option I ended up going with - Always responds timely - Price is more than fair for the quality; anywhere else would at least triple the price for something way less stunning - Phil suggested a couple different cuts and showed me the stone prior to cutting - Turn around was quicker than anticipated - Phil provided goldsmith recommendations when asked The best:)

  • Karl on Jul 28, 2022

    5 out of 5 stars

    Amazing custom work by Phil, could not recommend enough. Thanks again Phil :)

  • Todd on Jul 15, 2022

    5 out of 5 stars

    Phil created an amazing, stunning, and dazzling Ruby and designed a signature setting for the stone that shows it off so well

  • Averi on Jul 8, 2022

    5 out of 5 stars

    Absolutely PERFECT! ❤️ The stone is so unbelievably beautiful - it a gorgeous shade of teal that slightly shifts more blue or green in different lighting. The cut is unique, flawless, and has so much depth that it somehow makes the color even more amazing. Phil was great to work with, too. He was responsive, kind, and patient when answering all of my questions (and there were a lot!). He gave me really helpful advice about choosing the right stone, cut, and size. It's obvious he really cares about his work and making sure you are happy. Would absolutely recommend him and and am SO excited to wear this every day!! *Three month update! I've only fallen more in love with this stone every day. It's just so incredibly gorgeous and sparkly - I get a little happy boost whenever I look at it (which is a lot!) Thanks so much Phil!

  • Paul on Jun 26, 2022

    5 out of 5 stars

    Worked with Phil on a custom engagement ring. He was knowledgeable and professional and helped guide me through the process to design a beautiful ring. He is a skilled craftsman and does top notch work.

  • Todd on Jun 25, 2022

    5 out of 5 stars

    This is long, but to summarize, if you want a beautiful, dazzling, custom designed, hand cut gemstone and crafted ring, Phil is the one to work with! I'd give 10 stars :) I reached out to Alternatives Lapidary a few months back after reading comments about his gem stone design and cutting skills on other websites. I had always wanted a ruby ring, so the Etsy journey started. Phil guided me through the entire process improving on my ideas, resulting in a one of a kind work of art. He presented me with a brilliantly cut stone with amazing flash, in that sought after rare red ruby color. It sparkles in any light , a testament to his abilities to bring out that depth. And the icing on the cake was the setting. He honed in with a custom created signature design that complements the ruby and creates an awesome complete piece!

About AlternativesLapidary

Sales 1,179
On Etsy since 2010

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 mass production workshops or factories. 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 all started with my rock collection as a kid. At around 10 or 11 years old, my parents started taking me to the gem and mineral shows that came to town a few times per year. I gazed upon tables of glittering polished stones and my young brain realized there was a process by which I could go from the rocks I'd been collecting to a bright polished stone and I said, "I want to learn how to do that!"

And so I did.

I learned how to cub cabochons at around 12 years old, and took my first faceting class at 16. At 20 I bought my own faceting machine and have been cutting ever since. In my late twenties I started messing around with silversmithing, because I wanted to learn how to set my own stones. I managed to get a job at a local jewelry store and worked there for six years while I learned the trade, before transitioning to being a fully independent custom jeweler.

Shop members

  • Phil Lagas-Rivera

    Owner, Maker, Designer

    Born and raised in 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.

  • 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.

  • Djinn aka Doodles

    Shop Dog

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

Production partners

  • Best in Gems

    Dublin, OH

    Manufacturer of semi-mounts.

  • Brilliant Earth

    LA, CA

    Diamond Retailer

  • Custom Jeweler

    Lebanon, PA

    This ring was a collaboration between me and a fellow jeweler friend of mine. He loved this stone and designed this stunning unique platinum ring with it.

  • Jewelry Appraiser

    Raleigh, NC

    Certified Jewelry Appraiser

  • Lab Grown Diamond Supplier

    NY, United States

    Supplier of lab grown diamonds.

  • Casting House

    Raleigh, NC

    Full service casting, engraving and finishing house.

  • Stuller

    Lafayette, LA

    High quality manufacturer and supplier.

  • Casting House

    OR, United States

    Specialty platinum casting house.

  • Casting House

    Waltham, MA

    Does 3d printing of digital design models and lost wax casting in precious metals.

Shop policies

Last updated on May 10, 2022
Welcome to the online home of Alternatives Lapidary, a custom gemstone and jewelry atelier. It is a creative partnership between partners Phil and Hana, and you, our clients. Here you will find incredibly high quality gemstones and jewelry, hand crafted to exacting standards by creators who have had a life long passion and respect for their materials.

Why buy from us, when commercially cut stones are so much cheaper?
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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, poorly polished, and mostly lifeless. Commercially cut stones are a function of mass-production; they are cut for speed and weight, without attention to quality craftsmanship. Our concern isn't churning out product as quickly as possible, but to bring out the best the raw material has to offer. Another reason to buy from Alternatives Lapidary is to help support local, American creators. 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 your stones natural? What about treatments?
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We offer a mixture of natural and lab created stones. All stones that are lab created will be CLEARLY marked as such in both the titles and descriptions. Often when we buy rough, treatments are not disclosed to us, but whenever a stone we offer is known to be treated, that treatment will be clearly and visibly disclosed in the item listing. 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, in almost all cases stable for the life of the stone, and does not mean that a stone is less valuable.

Accepted payment methods

Paypal Visa Mastercard Discover Apple Pay Klarna Giftcard
Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
Returns and exchanges will be handled on a case by case basis. It is important to evaluate your purchase and decide if it is right for you expediently. No returns will be considered after 14 days from date of purchase, and no exchanges will be considered after 30 days from date of purchase. Buyer is responsible for all shipping charges in case of return, and returns are to be shipped with tracking and insurance, as they were shipped to you.

No returns will be accepted on custom orders.
No returns will be accepted on stones marked as on sale.
No returns will be accepted on stones once they have been set in a piece of jewelry.

All jewelry pieces are sold "as-is," with no warranties, other than a guarantee your piece will arrive in new condition, with all stones securely set. It is important to evaluate your jewelry purchase expediently. As stated above, no returns will be accepted after a period of 14 days, and no exchanges will be considered after 30 days.

Absolutely no returns or exchanges will be considered on a piece of jewelry that has been sized, altered, customized, or repaired in ANY way.
Payment
Some custom work may require a 50% deposit. 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
FREE SHIPPING is included for all orders within the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska, but not necessarily territories). International shipping rates still apply and may vary by country.

All orders under $100 will ship without tracking or insurance. All orders over $100 will be shipped by USPS Priority Mail with tracking and insurance to the value of the order. If you would like to upgrade or modify your shipping, please get in touch before placing your order so we can make arrangements.

We are not responsible for any items lost or damaged in the mail, and will not offer refunds in the case of either situation.