Category Archives: Jewelry

The Top 5 Reasons to Visit the AGTA GemFair Tucson

As the year winds down, most of us involved with colored gemstones look ahead to our annual return to the Sonoran Desert city of Tucson, Arizona in early February. This vibrant city hosts people from across the globe on their pilgrimage to play a part in the colored gemstone trade. For those of us who attend the AGTA GemFair each year, we look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new people who have discovered their passion for color. If you haven’t visited Tucson at this time of year before, here are five reasons why you should:

#5 – It is Sunny and Warm in February!
For most people, this time of year is the apex of winter. Whether you have been enduring snow and ice on the plains or constant rain in the Northwest, you could really use a break from it all. WIth rare exception, you can count on sunny skies and warm days in the desert. Enjoy the opportunity to play a round of golf or just soak in the sun while you eat lunch outdoors. It is a great way to recharge your batteries in the middle of winter.

#4 – Ethical dealers
You might be hesitant to do business at a show you have never attended before, but you can be assured that at the AGTA show each and every exhibitor has been vetted for you. Only AGTA members can exhibit at GemFair in the friendly confines of the Tucson Convention Center. What this means to you is that these dealers are bound to a strict set of rules including full disclosure of treatments and demonstrated ethical business practices. And if by chance you do have an issue with a transaction, the AGTA will be there for you to help mediate any concerns to a satisfactory resolution. This peace of mind is a key reason for many buyers to shop only with AGTA members.

#3 – The Tents
The AGTA GemFair is located in the air conditioned, secure Tucson Convention Center, but at the same time there are up to 30 other shows going on throughout the city. Many of these shows are located in white tents on otherwise vacant lots. Inside these tents are vendors from all over the world selling a wide variety of products including rough, gemstones, minerals, crystals, fossils and so much more. It is not uncommon to see full-size dinosaur fossils and huge geodes right next to each other. It is worth one day of your time to hop on the shuttles and explore this bevy of shows around the city – it truly is part of the Tucson experience.

#2 – It is Beneficial to your Business
As margins continue to shrink in the ultra-competitive diamond world, and a younger group of consumers emerges looking for something more interesting, you owe it to the future of your business to explore the opportunities afforded to you in colored gemstones. This is one category in retail where margins are strong and unaffected by the more commoditized diamond market. The AGTA GemFair offers a range of vendors in all price points – there truly is something for everyone under this roof. Take the chance to learn about gemstones you may have never seen before and current market conditions affecting certain segments of the industry. Many opportunities will present themselves as a way to enhance or change the way you do business. The energy is contagious.

#1 – Colored Gemstones
Tucson is the center of the colored gemstone universe for this week every year. Miners and cutters come to market with their newest finds and latest production. You owe it to yourself and your client’s to be on site where all of this activity is happening. You will be able to see in real time what others are buying and selling. You may come across product that will be appreciated by your clients based on the color, quality or price. We expect that anyone coming to Tucson for the first time will be inspired by all that the colored gemstone world has to offer. We never get tired of walking these aisles and seeing what treasures the earth has yielded in the last year.

Omi Gems has been a part of the AGTA GemFair Tucson for over 30 years. It is a market established on trust and quality. We hope that you take advantage of the opportunity to come see us in Tucson in 2018 – you will find us in the front row in booth 401.

Posted in Gemstones, Jewelry, Omi Gems, Retail, Trends | Comments Off on The Top 5 Reasons to Visit the AGTA GemFair Tucson
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Meaningful & Clean Design Resonates in the 4th Design of the 2015 MJSA Online Design Challenge

Designer Evan deJonghe of Evan Maxwell Jewelry in Saratoga Springs, NY “was excited to take on this project” for the 2015 MJSA Online Design Challenge featuring Omi Gems’ 4.59 carat cushion purple sapphire. Evan takes a unique approach to his custom design by focusing on the “no” words that a client uses. This same technique helped guide him in creating a unique purple sapphire platinum and gold ring for this year’s challenge.

View the design and learn more about his inspiration on the new MJSA website.



Posted in As Seen In, Fancy Sapphire, Gemstones, Jewelry, MJSA Design Challenge, Omi Gems | Comments Off on Meaningful & Clean Design Resonates in the 4th Design of the 2015 MJSA Online Design Challenge
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Minimal Modern Style Dominates the 3rd Design in 2015 MJSA Online Design Challenge

Martha Seely of Martha Seely Design in Concord, Massachusetts uses simple, modern shapes in her interpretation of the 2015 MJSA Online Design Challenge, A Mother’s Love. View Martha’s design philosophy on the MJSA Website.


Follow the Online Design Challenge all year and stay tuned for more designs throughout September. Then cast your vote for the winner!

Call us at 877.OMI.GEMS for all your loose gemstone requests.

Posted in Fancy Sapphire, Gemstones, Jewelry, MJSA Design Challenge, Omi Gems | Comments Off on Minimal Modern Style Dominates the 3rd Design in 2015 MJSA Online Design Challenge
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How to Make a Purple Sapphire a Home! MJSA 2015 Online Design Challenge #2

Bruce Hartman, owner of Creek Reflections, a private jewelry studio in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is the second designer in the 2015 MJSA Online Design Challenge.

As Bruce read the fictional story entitled “A little Piece of Home,” home and family are what stuck out the most. He kept these two aspects in mind as he designed around our 4.59 carat cushion shaped purple sapphire, the sponsored stone for this year’s Challenge. Discover the thoughtful meaning of the diamonds and geometric shapes in this design on the MJSA website.

HartmanFollow the Online Design Challenge all year and stay tuned for more designs throughout September. Then cast your vote for the winner!

Call us at 877.OMI.GEMS for all your loose gemstone requests.


Posted in As Seen In, Fancy Sapphire, Gemstones, Jewelry, MJSA Design Challenge | Comments Off on How to Make a Purple Sapphire a Home! MJSA 2015 Online Design Challenge #2
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Omi Gems Padparadscha at Center of 2014 MJSA Online Design Challenge – Vote Today!

Each year MJSA hosts an exciting Online Design challenge for its designer members. For 2014, nine designers were challenged with creating a jewelry piece around a lovely 4.49 carat padparadscha sapphire provided by Omi Gems.

Voting ends on Friday, October 31st!

4.49 Padparadscha

The premise of the challenge, “A Mother’s Love”, is to create a design based on a fictional scenario, presented here, about a group of siblings that have come together to commission a very special 70th birthday gift for their mother.

We invite you to view all of the creative designs and cast your vote for the winner! Click each image to read the designers inspiration and design approach.

Design #1: Walt Adler Chefitz, Walt Adler, Miami

An emotive brooch named “Three Generations.”

Design #2: Jessica Neiwert, Seattle
18K rose gold ring inspired by the color scheme of a sunset.

Design #3: Jenny Reeves, San Francisco
An 18K yellow gold brooch radiating warmth from the center.

Design #4: Gregory Crawford, Gregory Crawford Design, Atlanta

White & green diamonds create a flame motif platinum pendant.

Design #5: Erin Murphy, Goldworks, Eugene, OregonDesign5
A vine of green tourmalines curves to the padparadscha center in an 18K yellow gold necklace.

Design #6: Robin Waynee, Ryan Roberts Ltd., Chimayo, New Mexico
An arch of 18K white gold set with diamonds encompasses vine-like forms, with the padparadscha sapphire as a flower centerpiece.

Design #7: Geralyn Shrican, Geralyn Sheridan Design Studio, Chico, California


Reflecting lines and colors from Matisse, this yellow gold ring set with blue topaz, tsavorite garnets, chocolate diamonds and mandarin garnets compliments the padparadscha stone.

Design #8: Pamela Froman, Pamela Froman Fine Jewelry, Los Angeles
A signature ombre metal style transitions from 18K pink gold to 18K yellow gold captures warmth of flowers and color of the sunset surrounding the padparadscha center.

Design #9: Tittin Rinde, Grey Pearl Studio, Antibes, France
Surrounded by a sea of mother of pearl the padparadscha shines like a sunset in this colorful brooch.

Vote for your favorite design here!

Posted in As Seen In, Gemstones, Jewelry, MJSA Design Challenge, Omi Gems, Padparadscha | Comments Off on Omi Gems Padparadscha at Center of 2014 MJSA Online Design Challenge – Vote Today!
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Jewellery News Asia – November 2013 – Omi Gems

Pinks and purple gain popularity overseas!

Posted in As Seen In, Gemstones, Jewelry, Omi Gems, Trends | Comments Off on Jewellery News Asia – November 2013 – Omi Gems
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Vote for Color with Omi Privé in the 2014 JCK Jewelers’ Choice Awards!

Omi Privé is honored to be a part of the 7th annual Jewelers’ Choice Awards presented by JCK. For 2014, we have painstakingly chosen four of our most inspiring designs and invite you to vote on JCK’s website. Voting is open to all retail jewelers from November 2nd through December 31st, 2013. With every vote retailers place, you’ll be entered to win a free hotel stay during JCK Las Vegas! Look for Omi Privé in the following categories:

Best Ring Design
over $10,000
An impressive 11.24 ct. vivid pink cushion-cut sapphire is the focus of this show-stopping platinum ring. Enhanced on both sides with 18k rose gold and 0.20 cts. t.w. of round pink sapphires, this piece presents a total of 2.71 cts. of brilliant round diamonds in its body and frame. Vote now!

Best Bridal Design
over $10,000

A stunning 3.50 ct. radiant-cut sapphire is framed perfectly by a double border of round sapphires and brilliant diamonds. Handcrafted in platinum, the hidden beauty of this piece lies underneath, where two inner baskets cross to form its base. Hand-set French pavé tastefully flaunts the ring’s 0.82 ct. t.w. of round diamonds and 0.31 ct. t.w. of sapphires.

Gold Jewelry
over $2,500

An 8.54 ct. fancy-cut tsavorite garnet is set amid flames of 0.97 ct. t.w. fancy yellow round diamonds. This fiery pendant was handcrafted in 18k yellow gold, and features side filigree details. Keep the flame alive and vote today! 

Platinum Jewelry
over $10,000

Sixteen diamond-encrusted prongs hoist this one-of-a-kind 17.00 ct. oval no heat sapphire. This platinum ring was handcrafted specifically for the Sri Lankan stone, and incorporates 1.45 cts. t.w. of sparkling round diamonds. Vote in the Platinum category today!

We’d also like to thank all those who voted last year and named Omi Privé’s tsavorite and diamond ring the “Best of the Best” in Platinum Jewelry over $10,000 as well as the W Magazine Readers’ Choice winner!

Posted in Awards, Jewelry, Retail, Trends | 1 Comment
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Privé Fall Favorites!

by Nicolette Kovacevich, G.G.
Manager of Fine Jewelry, Omi Privé

Autumn marks three of my favorite things: the transition to a new wardrobe (bring on the boots, chunky sweaters, and cozy scarves), the infamous Fall drinks (who can live without pumpkin spiced lattes and chai tea?), and the very best – new jewelry! From light pastels to warm neutral tones, softer colors are everywhere, especially in fine jewelry. I have spotlighted five Omi Privé favorites below. Not only do these accentuate the near transitions to Winter, but each is truly a year-round investment piece.

This ring boasts an 8.66 carat cushion-cut spessartite garnet center. The 18K rose gold setting compliments the gemstone’s rich orange color. Bright and beautiful, this garnet exudes the idyllic tone for Fall, and will add a brilliant “pop” of color to a year-round wardrobe (Style RC1012-SGCU).

Handcrafted in Platinum, these stud earrings feature two round garnets weighing a total of 1.43 carats. The orange spessartite centers are accentuated by the pavé-set diamond halo frames. These studs are stunning, yet effortless, for everyday Fall wear (Style SS1050-SGRD).

The 6.22 carat spessartite garnet in the center of this pendant was mined in Nigeria. It presents optimal color, not reflecting any excess brown or yellow. The Platinum design features a double halo, with small round spessartites set in the inner 18K rose gold frame. White diamonds add contrast, and also emphasize the garnets’ vibrant orange color (Style PC1110-SGPE).

This ring features a 6.72 carat cushion-cut pink tourmaline center. The piece was specially created in 18K rose gold to flawlessly frame the stone, and highlight its hue. The combination is perfect to accentuate Autumn’s warm tones, and the color transitions beautifully to Winter, Spring and Summer (Style RC1230-TPCU).

This 11.11 carat topaz was mined in Ouro Preto, in the state Minas Gerais, Brazil. Its fine golden-yellow hue is known as Imperial color. The stone ideally reflects its trichroism, with its noticeable red shades able to be seen from the sides. To bring out this feature, the 18K rose gold setting was specifically crafted with small round rubies set on both sides bordering its frame (Style RC1450-PTOV).

Which piece is your favorite this Fall?

Posted in Gemstones, Jewelry, Omi Gems, Trends | 4 Comments
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Omi Privé Cheers for Pantone’s 2014 Spring Colors!

Perfectly aligned with New York Fashion Week, Pantone has released their Spring 2014 Color Report, revealing soft pastels paired with vivid brights for a colorful equilibrium. Inspired by a mixture of blooming flowers, travels abroad, and strong, confident women, designers are using color to refresh, revive and defy conventional wisdom.

“This season, consumers are looking for a state of thoughtful, emotional and artistic equilibrium,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “…the inherent versatility of the individual colors allows for experimentation with new looks and color combinations.”

Omi Privé is excited to introduce some of 2014’s colors in our latest designs. Let us know which color is your favorite! You can even take the 2014 Color Survey here and see which color has the lead!

Cayenne, a high-pitched reddish orange, adds a dash of spicy heat to neutrals. Our 18K rose gold and pink tourmaline ring exudes “Cayenne”!

Radiant Orchid is a perfect companion to pastels and pairs well mixed with other bold colors. Pink sapphire comes in a variety of hues, including “Radiant Orchid” as seen in this one-of-a-kind pink sapphire platinum and 18K rose gold ring.

Placid Blue, induces a sense of calmness and tranquility as seen in our double-halo sapphire and platinum engagement ring. With its clean and clear-blue, cornflower blue sapphire will make its wearer feel the breeze and brilliant shine of calm seas.

Dazzling Blue, a scintillating, polar opposite to Placid Blue, this strong color as seen in our violet-blue round sapphire and diamond ring pairs well across the pallet.

Freesia, an intense yellow, brings powerful energy to the spectrum. Yellow sapphires are the perfect gemstone to elude this sunny hue.

Violet Tulip, a romantic, vintage purple, evokes wistful nostalgia. What does our radiant-cut fancy sapphire ring bring out in you?

Hemlock, a summery, ornamental green, provides a touch that’s different from the Emerald green of last year. Green tourmaline paired with yellow gold is the perfect hue to carry summer through every season!

Celosia Orange, an optimistic, spontaneous hue can inspire you every day with our imperial topaz, ruby and diamond ring set in 18K rose gold.


Posted in Gemstones, Jewelry, Omi Gems, Retail, Trends | Comments Off on Omi Privé Cheers for Pantone’s 2014 Spring Colors!
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California Corundum!?
From the Ground to My Finger

by Natalie Weisiger
Director of Marketing, Omi Gems

Most people do not have the opportunity to personally mine a gemstone for their own piece of jewelry. In fact, most people are not aware that there is the possibility of finding gemstones literally in their back yard. That was the case for me, until I began working at Omi Gems, and became a member of the Gem and Mineral Council (GMC) of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. My adventures in mining and jewelry had officially begun!

Last July, the GMC hosted a “collecting” fieldtrip to Cascade Canyon, located in the San Gabriel Mountains of San Bernardino County, California. The canyon contains lapis-lazuli and corundum deposits that few people are aware of or have had the chance to peruse (you must have a permit to take samples from the area). An hour drive from my home in Los Angeles, I was extremely excited to meet with the group, and to start my hunt for California rubies! I had no idea that corundum existed in California…I also had no idea the caliber of “hike” that awaited me in order to find the corundum. Keep in mind this is mid-July in the higher elevations of Southern California: hot and dry! Relieved that I had brought a CamelBak pack full of water, I took a deep breath of the 5,000 ft. air, and started down the hill with great anticipation of what we would find.

Cascade Canyon and its location on map.

Here we go! 

Our group consisted of GMC members of all ages, from 6 years old to 70+. It was a nice feeling to be with such a varied group who all share a love of minerals and gems. It also kept me motivated as the hike began to get daunting; the route included lots of dry brush, burrs, bugs, ups, downs, large boulders and even a river to traverse (some have nicknamed it “Devils Canyon”)! The location is so far from the beaten path, even our guide took a few wrong turns along the way. I was beyond glad that I had brought a walking stick; otherwise, I would have fallen countless times (as a few people actually did).

The very rocky river crossing was made easier by some helping hands.

Once we made it over the river, it was a short trail to the corundum bearing rock deposit (it is actually a landslide deposit; the outcrop itself is high up the mountain, but a landslide had moved the ruby-bearing rock fragments down the hill for “easier” access). Here is where my gem newbie-ism came into play. As everyone descended on this hill like excited little gnomes looking for treasure, I stood unaware that we had even found the “rubies.” Before I realized that we had arrived at our destination, every single person in the group had their hammer and chisel out, and were working feverously. I slowly set down my backpack, put on my volleyball kneepads, which I had purchased the day before (and was teased by Tony, the Curator Emeritus of the Natural History Museum, for wearing them), and started chipping away at the rock. All of the rocks looked the same to me: dirty, boring and less than extraordinary. I had no idea what I was looking for, and was extremely intimidated. Finally, a new friend helped me to identify which rocks would likely contain the pale rose to deep lilac specimens.

And here it is! The ruby slide, completely unnoticeable, unless you recognize what to look for.

My first time holding a pick! 

After a few hard hits and some intense pick action, I found some very small fragments of “California Ruby” peeking through the rough exterior. It is not anything to write home about, but it was still very exciting for me to see how the crystals had formed, and that I had actually “mined” them myself! After picking at the host rocks with various inappropriate tools including: a Swiss army knife, screwdrivers and pliers, my determination paid off with a nice little pile of corundum. I quickly realized that whatever I collected, I would have to carry back with me (rocks are heavy!). I was ready to get going (as was the rest of the hot and tired group). We quickly packed up and headed back towards the way we had arrived.

The Cascade canyon corundum is a pretty pinkish-red. It is darkened by inclusions of graphite (C) and rutile (TiO2).  Most of the crystals are tiny, but can reach up to an inch.

Once I returned home and sat down with a cool drink, I had a new appreciation for how truly special gemstones really are. I have always heard the term “precious gemstones,” and had never put much thought into its meaning. This may partly stem from seeing countless, beautiful, faceted stones in the office each day. I am spoiled, having only seen the end result of a gemstone’s travels, and never its beginning. Now that I had personally witnessed the birth of a stone’s “life” outside of its rock, I had to take it all the way! Even if it was the most undesirable-looking piece of stone, it was special to me, since I had personally retrieved it from the ground.

I fell in love with one stone in particular…it wasn’t the prettiest or the largest, but its ace shape instantly inspired a design idea for a ring. Yay! But now what?

My diamond shaped ruby.

I turned to Niveet, and asked if I could meet with our stonecutter to learn more about the process. With a “yes” from the boss, and my rubies in hand, I knocked on our cutter’s door to see how a rough stone becomes beautiful. Our stonecutter is a talented man with decades of experience. I entered his small workspace, where he has all the tools he needs within one or two steps. It appears that there is not much required, besides the shaping and polishing wheels, the associated tools, a few sinks, a lot of sticks with wax (which I later learned are called lapidary sticks) and an amazing talent for “listening” to each gemstone. As I arrived, he was working on some large single sapphires along with countless other fine gems. I sheepishly handed him my piece of “ruby,” and explained how I came about the piece, and that my goal was to set it in a jewelry design. “I know it’s not like these other stones you’re working with, but I love the story behind it,” I told him. He replied that a “treasure is always in the eye of the beholder.” He took my stone, and began polishing it.

He explained that upon viewing a stone, he is able to see what it should become, based on the type and shape of the rough, and the best way to cut with the least loss of material. He has been working with gemstones and learning the trade from his grandfather since he was a young boy. As he studies and works with a stone, he has a “vision” of what the finished gem will look like. The stone itself “always tells (him) what to do,” he explained. After a few minutes of polishing and a quick cleaning, he handed me my shiny ruby piece, smiled, and wished me luck with my design.

I returned to my desk and studied my “ruby.” I was immediately reminded of a snakehead! It was the perfect piece of stone to create a serpent ring…and in perfect time, since 2013 is the year of the snake! I gathered countless snake design ideas and presented them to one of our talented jewelers. We sat down later that week and brainstormed the design, the metal, and my personal preferences. Before its creation, we lovingly nicknamed it the “Silly Snake,” because I knew this was a stone and a project most jewelers would not have the patience to deal with.

I was originally thinking of including some alexandrite and opal (my birthstone) as accents in the silver serpent design.

After a CAD model, a wax version and some debate over whether to include stones other than the ruby, our jeweler surprised me earlier this year with the completed ring. It was nothing like I thought it would be, but more than I imagined!

Seeing my “Silly Snake” elicited a response in me like a teenage girl that just received her first car. I slid the perfectly fit ring onto my finger, and have not been able to stop staring since! The simplicity of the rose gold design with the ruby as the center of attention made me thrilled to wear it. I love being able to share my story of the stone, and how much work was involved in the creation of just this one piece. This experience has given me a true appreciation for the rarity of gems, and the unique story behind each and every one.

Thank you to everyone who helped me along in this process and made my dream of a self-mined custom design come true! Sources & select images used with permission:
Robert Housley,
Alyssa Morgan & Eloïse Gaillou, NHM Mini Blog

Posted in Gemstones, Jewelry, Omi Gems | 13 Comments
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