That gemstone jewelry piece you have just added to your collection will go on to hold many stories … about your life, your loves, your joys and sorrows—all the things that make you a unique human being. And while you may think about all these pivotal moments when you look at it, what you may not contemplate is that the gem already has a story all its own.
Topazery recently sat down with one of our gemstone suppliers, Tim Roark of Tim Roark, Inc., to discuss the long, and often exotic, journey a gemstone makes before it ends up in a ring, pendant, bracelet or earring. Tim is our go-to source for many of the blue sapphires we use in our exclusive Topazery collection of jewelry, but he travels the world in search of beautiful gemstones.
Typically he buys his gems in rough form and then has them cut so that they end up with the best proportions to show off their assets to perfection. So something that starts off, to the untrained eye, as an ordinary rock that might get tossed out of the way in a garden is shaped and polished into an exquisite gemstone.
Tim also likes to buy his gems directly from the source as much as possible. That has led him to some of the earth’s most beautiful foreign locales. A recent trip took him into Burma and past the house of Aung San Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner and the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. When Topazery caught up with him, he had just returned from the east coast of Africa, where he had visited Kenya and Tanzania.
That’s right. That ruby or emerald that centerpieces your favorite ring may have rubbed shoulders (or more appropriately hooves) with African elephants and giraffes out on the savannah.
Kenya and Tanzania reportedly harbor some of the world’s richest deposits of vividly colored gemstones, which National Jeweler recently singled out as a spring jewelry trend. When asked what he thought of this prediction, Tim took the stance that it’s classic beauty that never goes out of style.
“They are tying fashion colors into jewelry but that doesn’t mean there is a huge move toward these fashion-colored gemstones,” he points out. “Jewelry is much more expensive than clothing,” so discerning jewelry lovers aren’t going to rush to add a piece to their collection that might very well be passé next season.
So where does he see trends that make certain gemstone deserving of a second look? “There is a lot more demand for gemstones, especially in China, than there used to be so prices have gone up.” Tourmaline, in particular, is drawing increased interest in China, where it is considered good luck. Ruby and Jade have also increased in value due to recent demand in China. China’s demand for all commodities has raised prices world-wide.
An antique piece featuring any of these gemstones might therefore be a good buy for individuals who are looking for their purchase to increase in value. But the real personal value of any gem still comes from its story.