How long have you been working as a blogger and gemologist?

I’ve been doing this for 9 years.

Describe what you Do.

I create content on a daily basis for my website/blog I created nine years ago called Gem Gossip. This involves taking photographs of jewelry, whether it is my own, a store’s or a designer’s, writing and putting together blog posts, answering emails, setting up trips to visit jewelry stores around the country, posting on social media and promoting my articles. Some days I am working from home in front of my computer for 13+ hours straight…other days I’m traveling, attending trade shows or completing a part of my #JewelryRoadTrip project. I’m also a gemologist–so I oftentimes appraise jewelry for clients.

Describe how you do it.

I am constantly building relationships with jewelry designers, store owners, and industry insiders. Instagram has been a vital platform for me to get my message out to my followers and build my brand.  As long as I have my laptop, my professional camera, my iPhone and an internet connection, I can do my job!  Appraising jewelry is a different story.  I have so many tools–a microscope, refractometer, leverage gauge, dichroscope, spectroscope, refractive index liquid, ultra sonic cleaner, polariscope and table gauge! Yes, it’s a lot!

Describe why you Do this?

I want to make my family proud and my husband proud. I’m also extremely passionate about what I do, so most of the time I’m doing it because I love it and wouldn’t be want to be doing anything else.

What influenced you to choose your field?

I actually went to college to be a teacher and decided that teaching was not a career path that was meant for me.  It took a lot of strength to realize this (and it was hard to come to terms with feeling like I “quit” something).  I didn’t necessarily choose the jewelry industry–I simply started writing a blog about jewelry and it grew into a full-time job.  So my field wasn’t chosen based on anything except my sheer interest and love for jewelry.
Is school necessary for your field of work and if not what is an
alternative path?
To be a gemologist, yes! The school is called the Gemological Institute of America–there’s a few all over the world, but just two in the US, one in Carlsbad, CA and the other in NYC. They have a graduate gemologist program which is what I did–you can take distance education if you want to learn from home, but have to take the three lab courses either in NY or California on campus.  It took me 3.5 years to complete my program.

What was the first step you took in pursuit of your career/dream?

For me, I didn’t know it at the time–but starting my blog was my very first step. Creating a name, registering and buying a domain name and trademarking were all the vital parts to the beginning. I didn’t start my blog with the goal of it to make money or to be my future career (that really wasn’t a thing back in 2008) but I worked on it every day and nurtured it. It evolved and grew…and eventually became my job.

How has pursuing your career altered your lifestyle?

I travel a lot and never thought I would have a job where I would have to travel. I’m also in front of the camera often, which I also never thought would be a part of my job!
What advice would you give to a student unsure about what they should do?
For some reason I feel like a lot of what people end up doing for a living goes back to what they gravitated toward as a child or doing things they are good at naturally. Try to think back and remember what you loved back when you were little…what do you have a passion for?  What are you good at?  Find out the answers to those questions and see what jobs align with those.  If you can’t think of any jobs, then create your own!  When I was in high school and college, there was no such thing as a blogger, so it wasn’t even on my radar. I’m sure there are lots of jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.  You be the first to do so!

What have been the most valuable things that make you love what you do?

Meeting all the amazing jewelry designers and jewelry store owners I have worked with–each one has such a unique story and is incredibly talented.

What role has hard work played in your career getting to where you are now?

I am my own boss, so I have to be hard on myself. I have to set a strict schedule and stick with it–if I wake up and don’t want to work, I don’t have anyone to report to, so if I wasn’t a disciplined person than it could easily get out of control. If you’re a motivated and dedicated person, being your own boss is amazing.

Who or what currently inspires and motivates you in your industry?

The people, the places, the beauty. The jewelry industry is pretty amazing.

Tell about those who have been the most encouraging and supportive of what
you Do.

Other writers and jewelry bloggers have been incredibly supportive of what I do–we all support each other! If one of us gets published somewhere, the other is cheering in the corner and sharing the news. Not every industry is like this and I’m thankful for that fact alone!
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