I still vividly recall, when I was just four years old, I’d sit beside my mom, and witness her meticulous work on jewelry inventory. She would weigh each item carefully, place price tags, draw and describe them in her inventory notebook, and bag the precious accessories in zip lock bags. It was the early 80’s, and that meant doing tasks manually.
My mother was dedicated; she would do her business even during the night, sometimes only pausing to have dinner. She was proud of her makeshift office, which was also our living room. One time, I asked her if I can assist in putting the labels. She said, “Oh, you can’t do what I’m doing; this is for grown-ups!” Being the precocious child, I was, I replied, “I’m a grown-up!”
From there, I was hooked.
When my mom opened her first pawnshop, I was there every Saturday, handling the cash register. In my high school years, she took time to teach me more complex tasks, like how to ascertain gold purity and grading diamonds. In college, I stumbled upon an opportunity to test my knowledge and skills; a friend asked me to appraise their family’s jewelry collection. Her parents were going through a separation, and none knew how to evaluate jewelry inherited from the grandparents.
Eventually, I would get more inquiries of similar nature. I welcomed every request and provided a complimentary service. I even find myself purchasing a few of the jewelry lots I would appraise. It was a clear path for me to be in this industry. I took up Graduate Gemology at Gemological Institute of America in New York in 2010. It was a step to formalize my education, to equip myself more. It was a grueling 6-month program. My day started and ended studying diamonds and colored stones.
Two years after, I opened my store in Market Market, one of the malls here in BGC Taguig City. The space specialized in appraisals, colored stone identification, and diamond grading. With much perseverance and passion, I slowly created a reputation as the go-to gemstone identifier in Market Market. The very first one I did was to challenge the green chalcedony stones that were being sold off as emeralds.
That’s my journey in a nutshell. I am excited to share more of myself as I write. I hope you learn from me as much as I look forward to learning from you!