Here’s the story of how I learnt about gemstones…
I’d just begun to make fine jewels and I got a horrific commission
from a rather wealthy couple. It was a week before Christmas and he
came in and ordered a ruby necklace with 10 x .5ct stones to be
delivered by the 23rd December.
I stupidly made the settings first and completed the chain and then
went out looking for the stones. As I wandered up and down Hatton
Garden trying to source the stones I realized that I was not going to
find them in the right size, that I was going to have to do the work
all over again, that I was going to loose money. I got a bit upset!
I confided all to a very elderly Hassidic gentleman who took me
under his wing. He took me around to friends, vouched for me at
various establishments and began to show me the right way to do a
commission. Why he did this I have no idea but eventually one of his
colleagues loaned me 20 fine rubies over a weekend. I was able to
take the stones to the couple, they chose the ones they wanted and
paid up front for them.
When I returned the rest of the packet I walked into a meeting
between a dozen or so gem dealers who lectured me severely on getting
some qualifications, gave me their cards and told me to come and see
them if I wanted help. I enrolled in the Gemological Association’s
classes at the Sir John Cass College (part of London University) and
after two years became a fellow (I have the nice initials F.G.A.
after my name now.)
Working for the qualification I met many dealers and the sons and
daughters of dealers from all over Europe and the Far East. I started
trading in small low quality colored stones.
That’s how to do it. Go on a good course, make friends, be
trustworthy and the doors open to you. Rather than being a closed
secretive sect of people I found the gem dealing community to be full
of great people. I was never cheated. Always dealt with stones that
wee in my stream of knowledge, listened carefully and took good