When it comes to gemstone jewelry, even how big or small they are... designers are always looking out for unique and amazing gemstones for their jewelry. And what better to look for them at the source! That's what Kat Florence does! Always wondered about gem sourcing? So did I! I find it very fascinating to know how it all goes and it definitely makes sense a designer wants to know where their stones came from. They're kind of a part of the jewelry piece story, don't you think? Besides that, Kat sources the most unique, flawless stones which enhance their natural beauty in her creation. I'm always mesmerized by the uniqueness of the incredible stones she uses in her designs She is magic!
Thanks to Kat Florence, here is a peek on how it all happens!
Kat Florence shares about her most recent trip to Jaipur to secure a few gemstone lots.
This gorgeous Russian Emerald piece that was inspired by one of Kat's recent trip by the intricately beautiful designs seen in the architecture, dress and linens in India.
Kat has an office in Jaipur and explains the way gem sourcing works :
I will send word that I am coming to India and give the guys on the ground an idea of what I'm looking for, but it is key to have an open mind. You never know what you may find or be offered. The gemstone market is constantly changing based on demand, new discoveries and availability. Once I get to India I like to stay at Rambach Palace, it is like stepping back in time - incredibly beautiful with intricate detail everywhere. I spend the days meeting different people who may have something interesting to share with me. It is quite exhilarating. They line up for hours to meet me. Then the good deals take days to secure - a lot of back and forth on the pricing. It is important to me to get the best deal I can get for my customers - I don’t inflate the price on the gemstone, if I get a great deal, my customer gets a great deal.
Some photos by Kat made in Jaipur last January
After days of seeing various gem types, I am lucky if I leave with 5-6 small lots of gemstones. I love those days in India - it’s a part of the industry many designers never get to see - I always want to know and understand where my gemstones come from. If I'm not traveling to the location to buy direct, then I'm in India, Brazil or Africa where the best gem markets are.
This time I decided to take a two-day detour and finally go see The Taj Mahal, which I am so happy I did. The grandeur, history, and beauty of this place is intoxicating. Anyone who has been there can probably agree there is a sense of exotic majestic air to the grounds surrounding the place. Although the city that surrounds it is quite underdeveloped it almost makes the Taj even greater - the contrast of the city to the beauty of the Taj is mesmerizing. While I was there I took a few hours to just sit on the grass and sketch a few of the details, I wanted to use these writings and shapes in my next collection.
With my next collection, I really wanted to engage history. I wanted to take a journey to the past and celebrate a moment in time. I wanted to meet the personalities and families that held on to certain treasures for generations and try to narrate their story through my work. While in India I was primarily searching for vintage rose cut Diamonds that dated back to the Maharajahs and in February I have planned a few trips to Saint Petersburg to acquire old Russian Emeralds that date back to the times of the Tsars. (FYI, this is an Emerald you can no longer source - you can only acquire from individuals whom have held on to their treasure.)
I asked one of my gem-hunters if he would introduce me personally to the families that have been collecting these masterpieces for decades. (Oh my god, how amazing would that be? I cannot wait to hear that story!)
This journey opened my eyes to how these gems told a story of the 1900’s and how through these beautiful antique stones being passed down still resonated 3 or 4 generations later. Their stories still shared excitedly by the family members with historical moments in the past. The pieces had become a marker in time, pinpointing a moment of change, victory, celebration or loss.
I believe It is only the stone that continues past our time. The stone becomes a symbol of our life, our love and our legacy.
All imagery and info by/thanks to Kat Florence