Reema, Age 4 in India

Shinde Jewels

From The Archive




COVID-19 Dispatches

I have been working on my e-commerce site for, anywhere from six months to three years, depending on how I want to define 'working on'. Technically, this has been a dream I've nurtured for a very long time. It's taken me the better part of two decades to become confident about my gemological expertise, knowledge of jewelry history, jewelry design, the lapidary arts and now, finally, bench jewelry skills. This has allowed me to slowly(think treacle) build a foundation from which to leap. 
I've also struggled with my confidence because I didn't go to art school. Although I am an artist, I hesitate to claim that title when I describe myself. I graduated from Haverford College with a degree in Sociology and a minor in French, and am significantly more confident about my critical analysis and writing faculties, the cornerstones of a liberal arts education. To make matters worse, I had zero desire to go to traditional art school. I wanted to go to Everything Jewelry School. No such institution exists. So, I cobbled together my own program by being mentored by A.V. Shinde (He ultimately became the subject of my book, Shinde Jewels(Assouline, 2004), and various programs around the world in advanced gemology. Now, I'm excited to turn the page and begin this new leg of my journey.
 When I founded Golconda in 2001, my dream was to sell my designs. It was a radically different industry then, and I didn't have the capital to build a collection, and then enter into lengthy consignment arrangements with retailers. My parents wanted me to go to graduate school, and in September of that year, things changed radically. Life was starting to look bleak. Colleagues reached out and asked me to help them source pearls, gems and diamonds, because they knew I was a gemologist(I had already graduated from GIA with a certificate in diamonds & colored stones and had worked in the jewelry department at Christie's for a couple of years by this point). That's how I was able to leverage my knowledge of gemology to bring me closer to my dreams. While I have always marched to the beat of my own drummer, there is no doubt in my mind there are guides shepherding me along. I'm surprised when I count the years and realize that it's been two decades, because it's been so much fun. I have genuinely enjoyed each day(with a few notable exceptions that are beyond the scope of this missive;-), and am now ready for this next chapter. 
 Building the loose gemstone business brought me into contact with talented jewelers and workshops, yet another building block in my dream. After the publication of Shinde Jewels, I presented a lecture at an antique jewelry conference that year, which led to me being invited to sit on the board of the American Society of Jewelry Historians(, and ultimately being elected president of the organization. That allowed me to cement my knowledge of antique jewelry and build networks within the antique jewelry world and with museum curators. There have been so many who have selflessly helped me along the way. After a lecture I presented at the Field Museum in Chicago for Harry Winston, the organizer asked me 'How can I bring you closer to your dreams?' There are so many good people in the world that are showing us how to lift as we climb. Each of your kind notes after these newsletters and the gentle nudges when a few months go by without a newsletter are an immense storehouse of motivation for me that I return to again and again. Please know that each of you is a star in my firmament. 
 Simply, the last two decades have finally allowed me to realize my dream of designing fine jewelry. The fruit of this tree, planted two decades ago, tastes very sweet. As recently as a few years ago, I would have told you my life goal was to tap the full extent of my potential professionally, and to build a meaningful legacy that contributes to the field of jewelry design and gemology. Today, I would tell you my ultimate goal is self mastery. If I can achieve that goal, I'm fairly certain my professional goals will fall into place as a byproduct of self mastery. While the journey isn't anywhere near over, I feel pretty good about where I am. What a precious gift, and I'm reveling in every moment. 
 To be clear, none of this would be possible without the incredible tribe of teacher, artists and craftspeople who work with me to realize my designs. This quarantine has allowed me to shine a light on my life and it's a time to choose what is really important. Of all the things I miss most, I cannot wait to see my clients, jewelers, setters & casters. We are dreamers and conjurers, and I miss my tribe. I've been able to move most of my office to home, for which I am grateful, but bitterly miss the magic that community brings.
For all my wholesale clients reading this, please rest assured that the loose and wholesale side of the business continues to grow. I will likely always buy more than I could possibly use in my own designs, so please know the wholesale side of Golconda will remain healthy and robust. Plan on many more play dates. 

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