The world of gemology decoded
She considers herself to simply be an addict who is living from one dazzling hit to the next. An expert in every sense of the word, what enthused Richa to start her epic ‘Gem Journeys’ was her love for coloured gemstones and admittance to the fact that she didn’t know enough. Her fear of possible fraud and a desire to be an educated consumer is what motivated her to study, explore, and learn. “The journey started primarily for selfish reasons, but today has morphed into a new way of life.” With a background in business planning, distribution, sales and marketing for airlines and luxury travel brands, for Richa, travel has always been an occupational hazard. In 2013 she started her educational visits to gem mines, manufacturing hubs, combining her love for gemology, history and design. The objective was simple, to show connoisseurs and lovers of gems and jewellery (like herself) how jewellery is made and take away some knowledge from some of the best craftsmen in the world who supply to top international brands. “That first trip was an incredible learning experience and since then I have been conducting a few journeys every year. Some to Sri Lanka, some to Thailand and Jaipur. I have also travelled as far as Colombia and Zambia (to visit the world’s largest emerald mine).”
With each trip, Richa’s desire to learn more grew, which led her to attain formal education and a degree from the world renowned Gemmological Institute of America (GIA). Simultaneously, she started researching jewellery design history and documenting her views and insights on Instagram in 2017.
Within two and a half years, her unique brand of storytelling has garnered a loyal and engaged audience of over 35,000 followers. “The original intention of this account was to have an online scrap book of sorts to keep track of what I was learning. The educative style of storytelling, which demystifies the complexities of the gem and jewellery world is something that developed over time. From the start, I was committed to not boost my posts or let commerce dictate the narrative.” And the rest as they say is history. “One of the joys of the account is that it has connected me with wonderful people who love gems and jewellery, and want to learn. It also brought me closer to some of the most talented artists in the industry,” she explains.
Today, Richa is recognized in the industry as an accomplished journalist. She writes extensively for consumer publications like Robb Report, Harper’s Bazaar, India Today Spice, ELLE on gems and jewellery. Her research on the business side has led her to regularly write for apex trade publications like Rapaport magazine and InColor (International Coloured Gemstone Association) on responsible sourcing, gem mining and marketing.
Her work transcends journalism to create digital storytelling campaigns for brands and associations in the sector, deliver talks at industry conferences and create content for museum exhibitions (Art Science museum, Singapore) and prestigious gem and jewellery shows (GemGenève).
We wish Richa many more journeys in the world of gems and beyond!
Tips from Richa on your next gem-studded investment:
1. Buy the highest quality in what your budget permits – with each year the supply of top-grade material is diminishing.
2. Buy un-treated gems – I would prefer to buy an untreated red spinel instead of a glass-filled ruby.
3. With jewellery focus on quality of craftsmanship and originality in design – while it may seem like fun to get an original Cartier design copied (lord knows we’ve all been there), the long-standing value of an original creation will always outweigh the copy of an internationally recognized one.