Friends and new clients often ask me about how I ended up in the gemstone and jewellery industry, so I decided to answer some of your questions and shed some light onto what it is that I do and how I arrived at the decision to start my own business, Tsarina Gems. Spoiler alert, my entrance into the world of diamonds was not as glamorous as those sparkly gemstones would lead you to believe.
Did you always know that you wanted to work with gemstones?
Honestly, no. I was very fortunate to fall into the industry that I now love. It was not a case of inheriting my family’s interest in the jewellery business nor did I spend my childhood making friendship bracelets. In fact, I was fairly oblivious to the whole world of gemmology and where jewellery and gemstones actually came from.
How did it all begin?
Believe it or not, by chance.
It all began when I moved to Toronto, Canada, in 2009. With a Business and Hispanic Studies degree under my belt, I did not yet know what career path I was going to pursue. After submitting my resume to several online recruitment companies, I was invited to an interview for an admin job. Funnily enough, it was only at the end of my in-person interview that I discovered it was for a Canadian diamonds wholesale company. The man-trap entrance finally made sense.
Working with diamonds every day, it did not take long for me to realise that this was the industry I wanted to be a part of, I wanted to learn everything about diamonds and gemstones. I decided I wanted to become a gemologist!
Did you have to go back to school to become a Gemologist?
To become an accreted Gemologist - yes.
After leaving diamond wholesale, I moved onto a new position at a gemological laboratory, where I learned to grade diamonds, gemstones and jewellery as well as use gemological equipment. I enrolled into an online GIA course and began my studies with the Gemological Institute of America, the most reputable gemmology school in the world. Three years later and several trips to New York and Carlsbad campuses where I participated in hands on training, I received my Graduate Gemologist diploma!
As a part of the programme, I completed several courses including:
Diamonds & Diamond Grading
Coloured Stones and Coloured Stone Training
Treatments, Lab-created Gems and Imitations
Accredited Jewellery Professional course
I will also be doing a blog post about my GIA course experience, stay tuned!
What did you do after you graduated from the GIA?
I went on to work as a head office gemologist for a retail jewellery brand in London, England, where I was in charge of sourcing diamonds and gemstones for stock and special orders, which I absolutely loved.
I later returned to Toronto and dove into the wholesale world of coloured gemstones. I got to work with the most beautiful gemstones and witness an amazing variety of colours that nature has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, I still adore diamonds, but after seeing emeralds, rubies and sapphires in all colours of the rainbow (as well as other wonderful gemstones), there was no going back!
How did Tsarina Gems come about?
Over the years, I have been involved in several exciting projects outside of work, involving private clients. I loved hearing about what was on your wish list, your upcoming celebrations and “just-because” treats. Being a part of your journey has always been heart warming and inspiring. I was very touched when my brother asked me to make an engagement ring for his now wife, as well as their wedding bands.
By summer 2020, I decided I wanted to dedicate my time to private jewellery consultations and helping you achieve your jewellery dreams! I now focus on creating fun as well as educational content on Instagram as well as on my weekly Tsarina Gems Blog. I love sharing what goes into the gemstone selection process and the journey each stone takes to become a wonderful new piece of jewellery.
How did you come up with the Tsarina Gems name?
The word "Tsarina" refers to "an empress of Russia" and the name was inspired by my Russian heritage.
I was born in the Ural Mountains of Russia and while visiting Moscow and
St. Petersburg I became fascinated with the magnificence of gemstones used to create the Russian Crown Jewels.
What's the process?
By providing a one of a kind, one-on-one experience, I have an opportunity to get to know you better and really focus on your jewellery needs and wishes. Thanks to modern technology, I am available at your service no matter where you are, just an email, a phone call or video call away.
I am passionate about all things gemstones, whether it is a dazzling cocktail ring, a breathtaking engagement ring or an elegant strand of pearls, I love it all! Whether you decide to go for something delicate and subtle or a great big showstopper, the beauty of creating a curated piece is…it’s totally up to you!
When working together to select your gemstones, I carefully inspect each stone for durability issues before presenting it to you. I personally inspects every piece of jewellery to ensure it is produced to the highest standards.
I will soon be sharing a blog about the process behind custom-made and bespoke jewellery, stay tuned!
Do you make the jewellery yourself?
The short answer is no. I am not a jeweller or a goldsmith. I have been a part of the jewellery and gemstone business for over 10 years and have met some amazing people who are the crème de la crème in their fields.
I am honoured to work with very talented craftsmen and women who hold years of experience and passion, which shows in every ring, necklace and earring that is created. I trust every CAD designer, jeweller, setter, polisher, gemstone supplier and fellow gemologist that is involved in the process.
As the majority of them do not work directly with the public, I act as the liaison, working with each one individually to create the jewellery piece of your dreams.
Are Tsarina Gems stones ethically sourced?
Yes. Ethically sourced materials are of utmost importance to me and I take pride in working with companies who supply responsibly sourced diamonds, gemstones and metals.
Upon request, I also source diamonds of Canadian origin. Typically, they are inscribed with a maple leaf logo or other symbols associated with Canada, accompanied with a serial number laser inscribed on the diamond’s girdle.
If you wish to find out more about Canadian diamonds, visit my previous blog:
Spotlight on Canadian Diamonds
Does my Tsarina Gems jewellery come with an appraisal?
For your peace of mind, proof of authenticity and insurance reasons, most of Tsarina Gems pieces come with a complementary, third party appraisal.
I cant wait to work on new and exciting projects together!
For any questions or requests, do get in touch with me via Tsarina Gems Homepage
Visit my Gallery for more inspiration
Check out my Instagram page for jewellery ideas