Jewelry: The Ultimate Gift, Part 3

An interview with Nader Ayad, GG 1986, ISA 1992, (GIA) Graduate Gemologist and owner of Mission Hills Gallery (Part 3)

What are some of the most interesting experiences or stories you have to tell involving your work?

There is one specific story that will stay with me forever.

A client came to the store, telling me that I’m the best gemologist and the best business man she’s ever met.

“How so?” I asked. She said, “I just completed my (GIA) jewelry repair class. I did this because when I visited your store, you looked through your microscope, and took time to explain to me the risk involved to repair my dad’s ruby ring. As I told you, my dad recently passed away and this is the only important item of his that I have left, so I naturally wanted to repair it. So, you know that I needed a second opinion, so I took the ring to another jeweler. He said that he could repair the ring for not much money, and that I shouldn’t worry about anything. When I picked up the ring at the due date, the ruby was shattered and the ring was totally damaged. I then had to take the jewelry repair class, to find out who was right and who was wrong. Afterwards, I found out that you were telling the truth all along.”

In this case, the sentimental value by all means exceeds the monetary value. Also, can we imagine any other profession where the clients actually attend school to learn about it?

How are gemstones different to work around than normal minerals?

A gemstone is branded as such – it must be able to stand high heat, survive exposure to chemicals such as acids, is resistant to breaking, and is relatively hard. Gemstones are rarest and most refined of all minerals. In general, other minerals are softer, break easily, dissolve or alter in chemicals. Many are used for carving and are collected. In making jewelry, however, only gemstones are used.

Do you know anything interesting about gemstones throughout history?

Well, the British Crown for the last 200-300 years was thought to have the largest ruby in the world. After a gemological test (GIA), however, it was proven to be a red spinel. This is similar to a ruby, but less valuable!

In the past, ancient civilizations admired gemstones immensely. Pharaohs in Egypt and emperors in China valued precious stones quite a lot. In fact, Chinese emperors were covered with jade for protection. Wars have been fought, such as those between India and Persia “Nader Shah”, to retrieve gems from a neighboring country.

Many people believed in the healing powers of certain crystals. This is illustrated in Ayurveda, meaning “Science of Life” in the Indian language Sanskrit.

There are many other historical tales involving gemstones, such as the so-called cursed Hope Diamond, and the significance of certain gems, such as birthstones.