Behind the Scenes of Working with Gemstones

Kristen Baird

An integral feature of almost all the pieces I create is a gemstone. I’ve always been drawn to working with gemstones, even as a student at SCAD. I like to joke that one of the reasons I started a business was to turn my weakness for gemstones into a strength! How can you not love them with their sparkle and candy quality!?

From the rainbow of colors to the brilliant cuts, when you think of Kristen Baird® Jewelry, sparkly gemstones are usually the first images to pop into your mind. But in this week’s blog article, I want to share a little more about the specific gemstones I use and (most importantly) the ethical sourcing of those stones.

ColorsWarm Tones

First, the variety of colors makes gemstones so versatile and creative to work with. There is literally every different color: shades of blue, purple, green, yellow, brown, pink, red, black, white, and multicolor. There’s a color for every outfit, mood, or look you could ever want or have! 

Shapes & CutsShapes and Cuts

Then, for as many colors as there are, gemstones also come in just as many different cuts and shapes. From round and oval to emerald and princess even to trillion and hexagon, every cut is stunning and unique - like fingerprints and snowflakes, they are innumerable!. All the diamonds I use (from large to tiny) are Hearts and Arrows Cut Diamonds, meaning they are the most brilliant and precise of cuts.

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Tucson Gem Show

The COOLEST part of being a “gemstone addict” is attending the Gem and Mineral Show in Tucson, AZ. It’s held annually in January and February over two weeks, and not only is it the largest gem show in the country but also the world. Unfortunately, I don’t get to go every year, but when I do, WATCH OUT! It’s a blast.

The last time I went in 2017 was simply SPECTACULAR. A group of 8 of my jewelry girlfriends and I met up at a shared AirBNB house in Tucson. Everyday, we sorted out what we needed for our designs and clients. Then, we planned out shopping routes and buddy-teamed our schedules. No jeweler was left behind! We spent the whole day working, and at night, we’d come back to the house for home-cooked group dinners over a glass of wine. Before bed, everyone would spread out their finds on the table, and we would all “Oooo” and “Ahhh” over the amazing stones we each snagged. (see the spread from one day of shopping on the bottom right image above)

I had the opportunity to meet new gemstone vendors, see their product in person, and build a relationship with them. Many of the suppliers I work with now were exhibitors at the show in 2017. I’ve actually been working virtually with one vendor for over 10 years, and I finally had the chance to meet their team for the first time in person at the show! This meeting was very beneficial because we built a better relationship face-to-face, and I asked for specific gems I needed right on the spot.

Ethical SourcingEthical Sourcing at Kristen Baird

I love that I get to work with gemstone suppliers from all over the world, depending on what type, style, cut, shape, and color of stone I need. These stones come from mines in Brazil, Africa, India, China, Canada, and the United States - just to name a few. With technology like What’s App, I can almost instantly talk with suppliers at all times of the day!

However, I know it’s important to my clients AND to me that all the gemstones I use are ethically sourced, bought for actual real people, and adhere to strict certification processes. Each diamond I use is Kimberly Processed Certified, meaning they are the most ethical and can be traced from the mine directly to me. Check out our full gemstones guide to learn more about the gemstones we use at Kristen Baird® Jewelry.

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