Opinion

Collectors Welcome

NEW YORK. As a jewelry market editor for 19 years, I am passionate about the people, places, and products made and sold by individuals I’ve met throughout my career. From the humble golden pearl farmers of the Philippines to the colored-stone-obsessed Brazilians to the masterful goldsmiths of Italy, jewelry journalism has taken me to many corners of the world for trade shows and private tours. But in all these years of research, interviews, and writing about jewelry, there has always been one big missing link: a direct connection to the jewelry collector.

Jewelry journalist and market editor Jennifer Heebner

The author, Jennifer Heebner, in a Fei Liu unicorn necklace

Collectors who love fine jewelry but don’t necessarily work “in the trade” want to know more about those who design and fabricate pieces and the far-flung places where gemstones are found. If that’s you, then welcome! My goal is to introduce you to the magnetic world of fine jewelry, which is filled with beautiful, rare gems and talismans and some of the most altruistic people on earth.

Consider the Branellac family of Jewelmer pearls, which innovated a way to breed and harvest rare golden pearls. In the remote Palawan Islands of the Philippines, the family provides jobs as well as fresh water and sustainable means of employment to natives not employed on its farms. The family also cherishes the pristine environment in which it operates, because if Mother Nature isn’t happy then she doesn’t help produce gorgeous naturally golden pearls. When was the last time mainstream media shared a tale this inspiring about a luxury product?

Jewelmer pearl farm in the Philippines

Aerial shot of one of Jewelmer‘s pearl farms in the Palawan Islands of the Philippines

There are myriad other stories to tell, too, about smaller outfits. Like mega animal lover Kimberly McDonald, who makes drool-worthy geode designs in addition to rescuing Chihuahuas. How sales from Mikelle Terson‘s elephant styles provide funds for wildlife refuges in Kenya. Or why Judi Powers uses only reclaimed precious metals in her organic-looking designs because she is committed to minimizing her footprint on this earth. (Traditional mining practices can be harmful to the environment.) It’s stories like these that so many collectors never learn about because the right forum hasn’t existed.

jewelry designer Judi Powers

Jewelry designer Judi Powers uses ethically sourced and reclaimed metals to reduce her environmental footprint.

This is the niche I aim to fill. I want to connect collectors with the personalities behind the jewels, pulling back the curtain on the mysterious—and let’s face it, often stuffy and seemingly inaccessible—world of fine jewelry to make it understandable, approachable, and your own.

To do so, I’m taking a journalistic approach—with inspiration from Humans of New York—by conducting on-the-street video interviews and turning this direct contact with collectors into short episodes housed under the header Conversations. Some share powerful personal tales of custom pieces while others dish about gift-giving gone wrong. All, however, eagerly reveal preferences and the emotional connections they have with jewelry.

I’ll also give you a glimpse into the glamour—and grit—of jewelry. Inspirations feature new collections straight from the trade-only shows, Personalities introduces you to little-known insiders, and Destinations takes you to the exotic locations where rare jewels and gemstones are found.

Campbellian Collection gold earrings with blue zircon, pink sapphires, and diamonds

Earrings in 18k white gold with a 9.96 ct. blue zircon, 7.72 cts. t.w. pink sapphires, and 1.32 cts. t.w. diamonds, $18,000; Campbellian Collection at Turgeon Raine, Seattle, Wash.; 800-678-0120

With a few journalism awards under my belt as well as myriad friends and contacts, I hope to be your capable guide through this world of fine jewelry, its objects of art, and its colorful characters. Thank you for joining me.

Editor’s note: Please know that this website is editorial in nature, meaning that no company or person is paying me to write about specific subjects. All ads are clearly labeled. My advertisers support me because they believe in the value of independent journalism.

Jennifer Heebner LLC

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