Gemstones: Insights From a Colored Stone “Newbie”

by Natalie Weisiger
Director of Marketing, Omi Gems

I’m a self-admitted gemstone novice at the moment, although I am quickly becoming very determined to transform myself into a gemstone maestro! I hope you will bear with me, and maybe even learn a little, as I go on many adventures to discover more about this fun and colorful side of the jewelry industry!

It’s much to my chagrin revealing that I’ve been in the industry for over nine years and haven’t given much thought to gemstones. I realize now how narrow my frame of mind was until I joined the Omi Gems team last October. Previously, when I thought of jewelry, I thought only of diamonds and metal, of course platinum being the best choice to securely hold the diamonds (shameless platinum promotional plug). If you asked me about gemstones, all I could tell you is that a sapphire is blue. Shows what I knew! I now know that sapphire comes in a variety of amazing hues including; pink, orange, yellow, purple, green and almost everything in-between!

Sapphire is corundum and is found in many, many other shades besides blue, from the gold of a sunrise, to the fiery reddish-orange of sunset, to the delicate violet of twilight.

Once I came into the world of colored stones and under the wings of the wonderful and experienced Nagpal family, I realized that gemstones were a buried treasure for me to discover (no pun intended!). The Nagpal’s have been in the fine loose gemstone business for over five generations, so I would be hard pressed to find a better environment in which to grow and learn about stones. Niveet, Vice President, and his father, Omi, encourage and enable me to learn about every side of the loose gemstone industry and that feels absolutely amazing. I also have my wonderful colleague, Sally, who is full of gem knowledge and has been with Omi Gems her entire career, over 20 years! She sits about three feet from me as she sorts, matches and measures stones. I’m sure I annoy her to no end with my ongoing ignorant questions about gems. But hey, how are you going to learn, right? It would definitely be difficult to learn the things Sally teaches me from a book or online, so I thank Sally for putting up with me (and for letting me know I confused tsavorite and tanzanite on our website when I first started)!

"Oh I see!!! Tanzanite is purplish-blue and tsavorite is green!"

Each day I learn more and I absolutely feel like a wide-eyed five-year-old discovering something they’ve never seen before. I tend to have mind-blowing realizations about the industry, the economy, the planet earth and mostly human nature as I discover more and more about colored gemstones. My first gemstone freak-out was over a little 7mm round tsavorite (it’s green!) that Sally pulled out for a customer. I caught a glimpse of the stone and went crazy! I took photos, I facebooked, I sent texts and I showed anyone who would take the time to look at the bright and lively Kryptonite-like stone. I can truly say that was the moment I fell in love with gems.

My first love...a 7mm round tsavorite.

Of course since my first love, I’ve fallen in love countless more times, including; a radiant cut white sapphire, a 20.02 carat unheated pink sapphire and an extremely rare and saturated 7.18 carat oval padparadscha sapphire. I quickly realized that the allure of the gemstones coming in and out of our office each day is that they are living treasures. The stones tell a story of the past while waiting for their future. I truly believe each stone has a destiny from the moment it was created deep in the earth (sorry if this is cheese but it’s how they really make me feel). The gemstones I see on a daily basis are just waiting to go off into the world and be with their true owner. I am honored to work with a team who helps designers, retailers and consumers find the perfect stone they’ve been dreaming of.

The earth is full of treasures!

I’m also lucky to be more immersed in the colored gemstone industry by becoming involved with various associations including; American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), AGS (American Gem Society) and also locally with the Gem and Mineral Council of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. All of these wonderful organizations have the goal of promoting education and ethics of colored gemstones and I am very excited to be involved with them all! Please stay tuned for more blogs highlighting my adventures with Omi Gems, the Gem & Mineral Council and fun field trips I will be taking on my quest to conquer gemstones!

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5 Responses to Gemstones: Insights From a Colored Stone “Newbie”

  1. I love the photos of the beautiful stones! Who knew there were so many multicolored variations in the wonderful world of gems? Your fascinating work and descriptions leave me wanting to know more! I look forward to more field guide updates from you.

  2. Peggy Jo Donahue says:
    August 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Natalie, I loved this post! One of the wonders of colored gemstones for me is that you keep on learning every day! I also loved your links, to learn more about Niveet and his family. I didn’t realize their origins in Burma. What an amazing group you are! And that includes you! Cool, huh?

  3. stu nathan says:
    August 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    i know the negpal family and sally well and you could not have chosen a better company or family to pursue your career with. all the best.