VCA Alhambra durability and customer service question

the black doe

Member
Aug 11, 2018
6
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I was thinking of getting the Alhambra, as I think the design is just so succinct and goes with everything! I also heard that photos don't do justice for VCA jewelries and they look much better in person - is that true? So, I was hoping to travel to the closest VCA boutique (it's 5 hours away!) and take a look before purchasing. I want to start with the Magic Alhambra necklace (6 motifs yellow gold in Carnelian and Tiger Eye) but there might be something else that catches my eyes. I have a couple questions though:

1. Is it better to just buy it straight from VCA instead of second hand? What are the advantages? There seems to be a couple thousand dollar difference buying it pre-owned. I heard something about VCA registering your new piece under your name and giving you a certificate of authentication, but isn't this something you can do with second hand as well?
2. How durable are the Alhambra pieces? A lot of my (cheap) jewelry fell apart with use, such as the chains would warp over time and just get loose. I heard that even though VCA has great craftsmanship, durability can depend on the material. I don't plan on wearing jewelry while working out or doing anything vigorous, but I want a piece that I can wear daily and give me nice, consistent wear for at least like 10 years.
3. How is the VCA customer service? For example, let's say my necklace gets damaged. Do they charge to repair it? Is there lifetime warranty?

And personal question(s) to you: What drew YOU to VCA Alhambra? Did you notice someone you admire wearing it and thought it looked nice? How do you like to wear your Alhambra jewelries? Daily wear? Special occasions? Do you like to match it with certain fashions or colors of clothing? All the colors are so pretty, I want them all! But, I gotta start with just one.
 
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EpiFanatic

VCA bb
O.G.
May 5, 2010
2,072
6,403
At home
I was thinking of getting the Alhambra, as I think the design is just so succinct and goes with everything! I also heard that photos don't do justice for VCA jewelries and they look much better in person - is that true? So, I was hoping to travel to the closest VCA boutique (it's 5 hours away!) and take a look before purchasing. I want to start with the Magic Alhambra necklace (6 motifs yellow gold in Carnelian and Tiger Eye) but there might be something else that catches my eyes. I have a couple questions though:

1. Is it better to just buy it straight from VCA instead of second hand? What are the advantages? There seems to be a couple thousand dollar difference buying it pre-owned. I heard something about VCA registering your new piece under your name and giving you a certificate of authentication, but isn't this something you can do with second hand as well?
When you buy preloved, I think the only way you reregister under your name is to take it to a boutique, and they will verify its authenticity. I don't know if that comes along with registering it under your name. Regardless, there is a substantial fee. I have heard that it is at least $1,000. Of course, buying from a boutique ensures authenticity, and new condition, if that matters to you. Some people will risk buying second hand, some don't. And some don't have a choice if they want a discontinued piece. I bought a holiday pendant at a premium on the preloved market.
2. How durable are the Alhambra pieces? A lot of my (cheap) jewelry fell apart with use, such as the chains would warp over time and just get loose. I heard that even though VCA has great craftsmanship, durability can depend on the material. I don't plan on wearing jewelry while working out or doing anything vigorous, but I want a piece that I can wear daily and give me nice, consistent wear for at least like 10 years.
In my experience, the quality is impeccable. However, I am not one to continually loupe my jewelry unless they are larger diamonds. There are stories of people getting pieces that they are not happy with. Of course, it also depends on how you wear your jewelry. Do you sleep with them or take them off at night? Do you wear them while gardening or more strenuous activity?
There are stones that are inherently softer than others. Malachite for example is softer than agate, onyx or chalcedony. For people that worry about it, they may not choose a malachite bracelet, and stick with earrings or pendants for that stone. There are still plenty people that don't worry about it and just enjoy it. Of course, pave and all gold pieces are lower maintenance and easier to clean. I put my pave pieces into an ultrasonic on a regular basis, at least once a week, and have not lost a diamond yet. My mom wears her solid gold bracelet 24/7, washing dishes, gardening, showering. No issues. Their chains were something that surprised me. They are polished to a high shine, reflect light beautifully and I have never experienced any durability issues.

3. How is the VCA customer service? For example, let's say my necklace gets damaged. Do they charge to repair it? Is there lifetime warranty?
I have received excellent customer service at all boutiques. Service from my local Neimans has been hit or miss, but I have a great regular SA. From what I know, there is NO lifetime guarantee. I know that you can get stones replaced at a fee, and I am sure you can get diamonds replaced, probably at a fee. I have no problem with that. If I am banging my wrist around or accidentally drop it and crack a stone, that's on me. I am happy to pay for a replacement. However, if you walk out the store and a diamond drops out of your pave piece, I think you can bring it back to the store and talk to your SA. From my experience, I would expect them to be reasonable. There are threads here where people have worked with their SAs to find the right fix.

And personal question(s) to you: What drew YOU to VCA Alhambra? Did you notice someone you admire wearing it and thought it looked nice? How do you like to wear your Alhambra jewelries? Daily wear? Special occasions? Do you like to match it with certain fashions or colors of clothing? All the colors are so pretty, I want them all! But, I gotta start with just one.
I started out buying a sweet alhambra turquoise butterfly bracelet about 7 years ago. I would stare at it on my wrist and think, how pretty. I want to see more of these on my wrist. It took me a while to get accustomed to the prices given that I wasn't buying diamonds. But as I gave it more time, really studied their pieces, the brand, and the philosophy toward workmanship and detail, I grew to appreciate their pieces more and more. There is a feminine softness and prettiness to all their pieces, yet they are bold, elegant, refined and timeless at the same time. There as so many combinations of colors and metals that all complexions and styles can be flattered. I personally love white gold with colored stones, and WG pave pieces because they are so versatile. All my pieces have to be daily wear pieces for me because I don't have any special occasions to attend and it's too expensive not to be worn regularly. I generally get pieces are neutral and go with anything. Most of the time I am in jeans and a t-shirt, but now it's even shorts, leggings and a t-shirt. However, I still wear my VCA. My daily pieces are my sweet alhambra pave studs which sleep in them an alhambra pendant layered with my diamond solitaire, and a different bracelet each day. I also love the perlee line, and am thinking about frivole pieces.

I would start with a neutral piece, unless you are particularly in love with a specific stone. If that is the case, go for it. One thing I have learned is that trying pieces on is very important. Some pieces you would never think about can turn out to be stunning on you. So it's important (and fun) to keep an open mind. However, that can be hard given the current situation.

If you are going to buy online or go through an SA remotely, check in with this board. There is a lot of collective experience that is worth taking advantage of.

And I will say that for me, it has been worth the effort of building a relationship with a particular SA to help you track down pieces that might be hard to find, or make special orders.

Hope this helps.
 

twinzluvagrl

IG @sincerelyophelia NYC Fashion & Beauty Blogger
O.G.
Jan 22, 2009
362
214
NYC
I was thinking of getting the Alhambra, as I think the design is just so succinct and goes with everything! I also heard that photos don't do justice for VCA jewelries and they look much better in person - is that true? So, I was hoping to travel to the closest VCA boutique (it's 5 hours away!) and take a look before purchasing. I want to start with the Magic Alhambra necklace (6 motifs yellow gold in Carnelian and Tiger Eye) but there might be something else that catches my eyes. I have a couple questions though:

1. Is it better to just buy it straight from VCA instead of second hand? What are the advantages? There seems to be a couple thousand dollar difference buying it pre-owned. I heard something about VCA registering your new piece under your name and giving you a certificate of authentication, but isn't this something you can do with second hand as well?
2. How durable are the Alhambra pieces? A lot of my (cheap) jewelry fell apart with use, such as the chains would warp over time and just get loose. I heard that even though VCA has great craftsmanship, durability can depend on the material. I don't plan on wearing jewelry while working out or doing anything vigorous, but I want a piece that I can wear daily and give me nice, consistent wear for at least like 10 years.
3. How is the VCA customer service? For example, let's say my necklace gets damaged. Do they charge to repair it? Is there lifetime warranty?

And personal question(s) to you: What drew YOU to VCA Alhambra? Did you notice someone you admire wearing it and thought it looked nice? How do you like to wear your Alhambra jewelries? Daily wear? Special occasions? Do you like to match it with certain fashions or colors of clothing? All the colors are so pretty, I want them all! But, I gotta start with just one.
1. I personally prefer to buy straight from VCA instead of second hand. You shop luxury designer for the fact that they stand by their items and buying in stores is kind of a guarantee. It's worth the money because of the excellent presale, during sale, and post sale that you get. And worth every penny. Packaging is also a plus. You feel so so good walking in and coming out with that new bag.

2. Alhambras are made to be heirloom pieces, each one is well crafted. How durable depends on what stone you get and the SA will def be able to tell you that so I think the 5 hour drive is worth it (if you do decide you will buy something) Or you can wait till COVID is over and you can travel and there's one close to where you're traveling. I have had a sweet alhambra with MOP bracelet for over a year, wear it 24/7 and it's going strong.

3. VCA customer service is great. However, as with any luxury piece - there are discrepancies with repair fees etc. It depends on what the damage is etc. So you really won't know until such a problem arise. But they will definitely deal with mechanic problems (loose claw etc). If stone is damaged or ruined - if it's reasonable wear and tear then you will be charged a fee. (ex: MOP is soft stone, shouldn't contact too much water and should be dried right away. I wear it daily and rather enjoy it then to worry about the stone... I know replacing the stone in the future is about $200 and I am willing to pay that because I am not treating the MOP as how delicate it should be.) So... really it depends on situation. You can ask SA for more details and they can better answer your question to the particular scenario you'r envisioning.

Personal Q&A: I love the delicate look of the clover alhambra. And MOP is one of my fav stones even though it's soft. It goes very well with my wardrobe and I don't really have to think of anything to match it - it matches everything! Super classic and classy. I have an alhambra bracelet and recently added a pendant and both are worn daily (to bed, the the gym, all day every day). My favorite stones from VCA is MOP, Gold MOP, Onyx, and Carnelian. I need to literally build a collection with them. I love everything so so much!
 

twinzluvagrl

IG @sincerelyophelia NYC Fashion & Beauty Blogger
O.G.
Jan 22, 2009
362
214
NYC
Girl! I second the chain durability. My sweet alhambra bracelet's chain looks sooo thin and I wear it everywhere and daily (one of those rather enjoy my jewelry and worry about costs later type of girl) And it is so strong!!! :smile: I love it!
 
May 29, 2010
3,560
1,859
1. It is definitely better to get it from the boutique. There are too many fakes on the market.

2. Alhambra is beautiful but definitely needs to be taken care of. The best option for durability is the all gold hammered one and next would be onyx. Sales associates will definitely make sure to give you instructions on care.

3. I cannot comment on repairs/costs since I have not needed the service yet.