AlternativesLapidary

Custom Loose Precision Cut Gems and Handmade Jewelry

Raleigh, North Carolina
| 1,211 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!

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Phil Lagas-Rivera

Contact shop owner

Phil Lagas-Rivera

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About AlternativesLapidary

Sales 1,211
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.

  • Rio Grande

    Albuquerque, NM

    Jewelry Supplier

  • 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 & exchanges

See item details for return and exchange eligibility.

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.