2005 SRI LANKA
In 2005 I started a business in Sri Lanka to complement my Internet business in Australia. Travelling to Sri Lanka regularly, I quickly became familiar with the country’s reputation for gemstones, particularly sapphires.
At that time, Sri Lanka was still embroiled in its long running civil war. Foreigners, except for UN observers, were rare. But the people were, and remain, extremely friendly and welcoming.
I traveled to Sri Lanka every six weeks, staying for one to two weeks. Each trip I would visit the local gem merchants and look for a unique gift I could bring back to Australia for family or loved ones. Pretty soon I became well known by the traders there, and over the years built up strong relationships with mine owners, gem cutters and gem exporters.
Friends began to ask if I could also bring back gemstones for them for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. I also instituted a sales reward program for my staff, where sales achievements were rewarded with sapphire ‘bonuses’.
After several years, friends of friends were inquiring about getting stones as well. Which I was happy to do, but it still remained a hobby to my main business.
About a year after starting the Sri Lanka business, I started transiting via Bangkok and taking a day or two stopover to break op the otherwise 19 hours of travel to get from Perth to Colombo. It wasn’t long before I discovered the gem markets in Bangkok – undoubtedly the world capital of coloured gemstones. While Sri Lanka rules for sapphires, the Bangkok market rules for every other type of coloured stone.
In addition, Bangkok has excellent goldsmiths. All of the jewelry you will see on my site has been custom manufactured in Bangkok.
In 2013 I sold my Internet business in both Australia and Sri Lanka and, after a long overdue holiday, began to convert my gemstone hobby into a full time business. My first step was to take the GIA Gemologist course in Bangkok to get the backing of formal, highly respected, training to complement the industry knowledge I had acquired over the preceding eight years.I now travel to Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and recently Vietnam to search the markets for beautiful stones.
I love the travel and I love finding rare and unique gems. Recently I have uncovered a source of a particularly rare and unique, but not yet well know, type of sapphire – Gold Sheen Sapphire. Because of its current obscurity, the price for this stunning stone will represent an excellent investment.
2014 GOLD SHEEN SAPPHIRE
Whilst looking for sapphires for a customer order, I met Tanzim Khan at his store on Silom Road. He was showing me some very nice sapphires he had on hand when a particular type of gem I had never seen before caught my eye. It was Gold Sheen Sapphire, a previously unknown, and very rare, variety of corundum. The more I looked at the samples Tanzim had, the more I liked the gem. Investigation revealed that the stone was not well known at all (at the time, though a lot better known now), but testing in my own lab, and my increasing appreciation of its beauty, led me to the decision to begin an association with Tanzim and his company Genuine Gems & Jewellery.
Intrigued by the offer of ‘Virtual Residency’, I travelled to Tallinn in Estonia to apply, and register my company name there. SJW Gems is registered in Estonia as SJW Gems OU
2015 HONG KONG
To facilitate access to trade show, and access to mainland China, SJW Gems is registered in Hong Kong as SJWGems LTD.
I, along with some investment partners, bought 100kg of ruby rough. This parcel is yielding stones of deep colour and high saturation.
2016 – 2017 EXHIBITION
SJW Gems brought Gold Sheen Sapphire to the North American market at the JCK Tucson gem and jewelry show. It was the first time Gold Sheen Sapphire had been shown exclusively, and the first time in the USA. Over 20,000 carats were on display.
Following the Tucson show we displayed at the UMB China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair in Shenzhen in April 2017. This was also the first time Gold Sheen Sapphire had been on show in mainland China, generating much interest from jewelry manufacturers.
My goal with SJW Gems is to give you the best, most beautiful gemstones I can find, tested in my own lab, at a price far below anything you would expect to pay elsewhere. I try to adhere to my personal motto of ‘twice the size at half the price’.
I only buy stones that I like, and would like to have in my personal collection. So, I am happy to offer my personal guarantee that if you are ever dissatisfied with your purchase from me, for whatever reason, I will buy the stone back from you at the same price you paid.
NEWS AND UPDATES
I have maintained a blog from my last business to this one, and you can read updates and news about gemstones, check here