Jewelry Navigator

Gems & Unique Jewelry for Shoppers Who Want to Stand Out Beyond Trends

Whether you love jewelry and gems as much as I do, you may wonder sometimes about where the gems are found.


Knowing where gems are found is traceable


Knowing who finds the gem crystals, and exactly where to look is harder, and has been more difficult to trace - until now, and unless you make that your mission.


Today, I’m very excited and honored to be sharing my visit with Roger and Rachel Dery.


Their gem story goes so much deeper than the depths from which the gems they feature are discovered.



The Dery family, Roger, Ginger, and Rachel launched Gem Legacy, last fall,  and 501 c 3 non-profit company.


In Tucson, next month, Roger, Ginger and Rachel will be celebrating the launch of Gem Legacy.


Their mission is to make the lives of the miners, families and communities that are supported through Gem Legacy better, and more enriched through their treasured resources by means of educational and guided support by Gem Legacy.


With the demands of more transparent commerce interactions, Roger Dery and his family are building a legacy of trust in the gem and mineral industry from the ground up - something that is way overdue.


You can find Gem Legacy on Instagram @thegemlegacy, and Roger Dery's custom and expertly faceted gemstones at, and @rogerdery on Instagram.


Is your jewelry covered by accurate and legitimate appraisals?

If you lost your engagement ring tomorrow, would it be adequately covered by your insurance for it to be replaced as close to the original?

These are questions that are answered with a proper appraisal that is current and accurate.

Part of why I share the information related to jewelry is so you don’t feel intimidated by shopping for and caring for your jewelry.

You should always feel comfortable with the jewelry professionals you trust, and feel they have your best interests at heart.

That brings up the subject of ethics, which should be the barometer that underrides the practice of personal property and jewelry appraisals.

Knowing who to trust, and who will appriase your jewelry fairly and honestly should be your first priority when choosing an appraiser.

I’m so excited to share my visit with today’s guest, Fred Van Doren, Graduate Gemologist, and Certified Jewelry Appraiser.

His story starts in a chemistry lab, and while he still uses a microscope on a regular basis, he has solid experience in jewelry appraisal, as well as a long history within the retail sector of the industry, from a corporate perspective, to his own privately owned store.

Type of appraisals:

A sales appraisal reflects the retail price of an item.

Most jewelry appraisals are created for insurance coverage based on replacement and fair market values.

Other reasons for jewelry appraisals are for

-liquidation value

-consighment purpose

-estate appraisals

-tax write offs for donations

Credentials to look for with an appraiser:

GG  (GIA - Gemological Institute of America; Graduate Gemologist) or FGA (Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain

Certificating Agencies

NAJA (National Association of Jewelry Appraisers)

ISA (International Society of Appraisers)

ASA (American Society of Appraisers)

Continuing education for gem and trade updates, such as lab created options, and gemstone treatments.


Julie Lamb is a fun and highly experienced jewelry designer in New York City.

She’s been making jewelry since childhood. After attending an art magnet school in the city, she began her jewelry career and journey working as project manager and marketing specialist for big name companies.

Her jewelry company, Julie Lamb Fine Jewelry, contains a versatile selection of collections.  From whimsical lamb themed jewelry (a play on her last name with the “Be Ewe” collection), to her Metropolis and City collections, her jewelry is refreshingly unique.

Julie won second place in the MJSA Vision Award for designers in the 1-3 Years in Business category for her “Entrepreneur” ring, which reflects her sophisticated designs in her Limited Edition and Elements Collections.

Julie was a joy to talk to, and I was honored that she took time with me to share her story.

You can find Julie Lamb Fine Jewelry at, and on instagram, @julielambny.



The Not So Scary Truth About Opals


Anne of Geierstein, also known as The Maiden of the Mist is a novel written by Sir Walter Scott, in 1829, and cast an unlucky shadow onto opal.


The story told of a young princess who wore an opal pin in her hair.


When she was happy, the opal radiated with its signature flashes of colors. When she was mad or sad, the opal faded in light and color.


Convinced she was evil or bewitched, holy water was sprinkled onto the opal to break the jewel’s spell, and at once, the princess fainted and collapsed.


The next morning, there was only a heap of gray ashes where she had been laid.


From that point on, opal was believed to be bad luck, and it suffered in popularity.


It regained attention and jewelry status to be pushed again by the jealous diamond industry, so it is speculated.


Today, opal is enjoyed by many for its fiery display and wide variety.


The most recent variety uncovered is a transparent, jelly variety, called Ethiopian opal.


A listener of the podcast reached out to me about a few Ethiopian opal stones she has that have discolored to a duller orangey - yellow color, and asked if I could explain the change of appearance.


I reached out to a few gemologists and specialists, MD Maya Gems, Diana Jarrett, G.G., and Matt Hopkins of Hopkins Opal.


Matt spent some time with me on a phone conversation and explained why the opal changed color, and also clarified the controversial advice to either oil or keep your opals in water.


Be sure to visit the website for the accompanying blog post that will feature links to the research, photos of opals and opal jewelry by Thesis Gems, Russell Trusso, and more!


I met Emily Kuvin at the Jewelers of America Jewelry show in New York this past summer.

She was featured as one of a select few designers in the New Designer Gallery, curated and selected by Liz Kantner.

She’s been featured on Gem Gossip’s site with her Stella jewelry, and now I’m so excited to have her as today’s guest on the podcast.

What I find so interesting about Emily is how she balances the business and design side of her jewelry with the skills and background from her education and prior careers.

With a degree in history and English, she continued into the field of journalism, and was a news broadcast journalist.

She returned to school for a law degree, and practiced law before deciding to pursue a long lasting interest of jewelry design.

Her career experience and research skills as a journalist and in her law profession serve her well in her jewelry business.

She seamlessly balances a mix of aesthetic understanding with business practicality.

Currently, her two collections grow from classical influence, yet offer an elegant and whimsical style.

The Stella (the latin root of the word, star) collection consists of various sizes of organically formed stars with nine arms.

Using an organic star motif, one can interpret her Stella collection to express an appreciation for stars and a respect for the vast universe, or as a resemblance to the “kapow” super hero comic strip graphic as a way to recognize internal strength in a fun and whimsical way.

The largest design, Stella and a medium size, Stellina are featured as necklaces and earrings.

In the center of each Stella and Stellina piece is an oval gemstone surrounded by six small diamonds sprinkled around the center stone and in the middle of the stars’ arms.

Gems like morganite, tourmaline, amethyst, and turquoise are just a few of the gems she uses in all her designs.

The Classical Collection is the second line of jewelry featured in Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design.

Inspired by the iconic pyriamids of ancient Egypt, for which she had an affinity for studying as a young girl, Emily grew her Classical collection based on triangular forms and gems.

Emily combines the triangualr form that three small, bezel set gems with trillion shaped gems as the basis for her Classic Collection.

Both her collections are unique and offer a distinguished celebration to stand out with elegance that transitions between casual to formal wear.

I love how Emily Kuvin’s designs pack a sparkling punch to remind us who we are and to stand up for the super stars we are!


What started out as a concrete jewelry for an architectural thesis project for her graduate program turned into a line of jewelry created by Emily Minton.

Now, Emily is a full time practicing partner at an archticecture firm in Baltimore, where at night and on weekends, you can find her designing and managing the manufacturing of her jewelry from NYC. 

Recnetly, her jewlery was featured on the models for Flying Solo's late summer fashion show.

I was surprised to learn that Emily is both the model and photographer for all her photo shoots for her jewelry.

From scenes that look like a moonscape, to the contrast of straight and curved lines set in the cornfields of Nebraska, Emily's photos on her site and Instagram feed are inspiring and make shoppers intrigued to know more about her jewelry.

You can find Minton online, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.


Episode 24 Making Smart Choices for Jewelry That Lasts


Busy people need to make smart choices for jewelry that lasts.


In this episode, I share tips and features to make jewelry selections that will save you from costly repairs, and ensure a lifetime of wear and enjoyment.


Thanks so much for joining me, and enjoy the episode!

About Brenna, the Jewelry Navigator
A Graduate Gemologist with a degree in geology, Brenna has worked in the retail sector of jewlery for nearly 15 years.

With a heart for the small business owner and independent designers, Brenna fills the gap between trade show and shopper looking for unique jewelry to define life and experience.

By sharing the missions, stories and creations of artisan and independent jewelers, Jewelry Navigator brings jewelry to the shopping public that may otherwise go undiscovered.

Visit for more, and follow on Instagram @jewelrynavigator


AP Gemology & Jewelry With Thesis Gems


Last week’s episode was all about alternative jewelry to the class ring.

I shared so many other ring options that would be worn and not destined for the jewelry graveyards of forgotten jewelry box drawers.



This week, we continue with the school theme with a Thesis.


According to the Oxford dictionary, and Thesis is


“A statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.”


I vehemently stand by the thesis that jewelry is worth more than the money we pay for it.


Jewelry speaks the words we don’t have to tell someone how special they are to us.


Jewelry is like wearing a mini monument that continuously celebrates our most important life events.


Cate Claus is the creator and designer behind Thesis gems, and  brings more validation to my theory



Cate thoughtfully and throughly sources the materials used to create her jewelry, using only the finest gems recovered in the most earth friendly practices while yielding the most return to the local and regional communities and environments.



As stated on her website, her Motto for Thesis Gems is:


“We believe that people and the environment are more valuable than any gem. That’s why Thesis seeks sources that are committed to ethical treatment of workers and the land.  And we donate 1% of our gross sales to organizations fighting to conserve and defend our planet. That's our thesis. Guaranteed forever.”


I feel Cate does a great job proving and supporting her thesis, and she does it all while maintaining a full time practice as a pediatrician in the San Francisco area.


I’m so happy to share her story today!


Episode 22: No Ring Left Behind - Alternatives to Class Rings

Do you still have your class ring? Has it been abandoned in a drawer or jewelry box?

Class rings aren't as popular as they were in the height of their popularity, say in the 1950's through the 1980's.

For decades, graduating from high school and college had been celebrated with a coveted class ring.

West Point Military Academy began the tradition in 1835, and from there, other schools adopted the concept with their own rings.

The first class rings were all metal, or set with gemstones like onyx and carnelian.

Today, many students are choosing to forego class rings.
Some reasons may be cost, lack of interest, or opting for other gifts, like electronics or cash.

Whether you or your student decides to show school pride and celebrate academic merits, graduating from high school and college is a big deal, and worthy to be celebrated with jewelry.

In this podcast, I share alternative rings that will hold interest and have style versatility beyond the year of graduation, so you don't make a purchase only to be abandoned in a drawer or jewelry box a few months or years later.

The jewelers and designers featured in this episode are:

  • California Girl Jewelry
  • Jill Kathleen Designs
  • R. Simantov
  • Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design
  • DRU. Jewelry
  • Hugo Kohl Jewelry
  • Rita Jewels
  • Thesis Gems
  • May Came Home
  • Crash Jewelry
  • Minton - Premium Architectural Jewelry

For links, photo features of the jewelry mentioned in the episode, please visit the blog post on 

Follow Jewelry Navigator on Instagram @jewelrynavigator

Thank you for choosing Jewelry Navigator for your unique jewelry selections, and enjoy the episode!

About Brenna, the Jewelry Navigator
A Graduate Gemologist with a degree in geology, Brenna has worked in the retail sector of jewelry for nearly 15 years.

With a heart for the small business owner and independent designers, Brenna fills the gap between trade show and shopper looking for unique jewelry to define life and experience.

By sharing the missions, stories and creations of artisan and independent jewelers, Jewelry Navigator brings jewelry to the shopping public that may otherwise go undiscovered


Episode 21 And the Winners are…!!!  Juler's Row Giveaway, & A Look Back


As promised, today, I’ll be announcing the winners of the Julers Row Giveaway.

If you missed it, last week, in the Jewelry Navigator Boarding Lounge, Julie Bishop of Juler’s Row and Katherine and Josephine shared her story of how she successfully runs two jewelry businesses, IN


Episode 20 Back to School Jewels With Juler’s Row Home Decor Jewelry Art



We ran a giveaway contest for one of two of her jewelry theme decor items, of either a cushion cut diamond tote bag, or an Opal watercolor rendering canvas print, both with a retail value of $145, and both items are perfect for  back to school = the tote bag with its big, beautiful cushion cut diamond, and the opal watercolor print to brighten up and add sparkle to any dorm or apartment wall!


In the contest on Instagram, instructions were to like the posts, follow both me and Julie at Juler’s Row, and tag 3 friends to enter.


All of her jewelry and home decor items are made in the U.S., with the exception of the katherine and josephine satin straps, and

the artwork prints used for her Juler’s Row home decor items are all designed by Julie, and hand painted by her mother, Amy, also a designer.


Before I announce the winners, I want to thank everyone for listening and supporting Jewelry Navigator Podcast.


I’ve really enjoyed visiting with and sharing the jewelry and the designer’s stories with you.


I look forward to bringing more stories and helpful tips in upcoming episodes.


If you haven’t heard all the episodes, in today’s I re-cap a few of them so you can enjoy a quick synopsis, or created mental notes to go back and hear episodes you missed.


For the remainder of August, and possibly into the first week of September, I’ll be taking a hiatus, but will return with new episodes.


I’m taking time to assess where I can add and create valuable service to you as shoppers and listeners, as well as to the artists and designers I feature.


For now, let’s congratulate the winners of the Juler’s Row diamond tote bag and opal watercolor rendering canvas print


The Cushion Cut Diamond tote bag goes to  Lori Cooper @lcooperfabulous


and the Opal Print goes to Julie Bergstein Romenanko who is @justjulesllc on Instagram.


Congratulations to both Lori and Julie for winning Juler’s Row wonderful creations! I’m so happy for both of you, and thank you for following and supporting me and Julie on Instagram!


The format for the podcast has mostly been visits with guest designers and jewelers.


A few have been solo episodes where I’ve shared information that is probably not common knowledge for shoppers, and I hope has been helpful.


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the jewelers and designers, and sharing their jewelry and stories with you.


The following are clips from six of the episodes - there are fourteen others waiting to be heard and enjoyed.



I met Samantha Jackson at a show in New York in February.

I was so excited to find her, and you can hear the rest of her story, but here’s a quick clip from Episode 14 The Virtues of Heavenly Vices Fine Jewelry With Samantha Jackson



Many of the designers I feature are women, but there’s one who captured my attention with her innovative concept of using the parts from late luxury and sports cars, like ferraris, maseratis, and prosches that sustained minor damages, from her husband’s auto body shop,

Christi Schimpke from the third episode, Q & A With Crash Jewelry Founder Christi Schimpke


It’s important to me to help shoppers understand the proper terminology and common misconceptions with jewelry terminology and concepts.

One of my pet peeves is referring to diamonds as chips, and the misnomer of using semi in combination with the word precious when describing gemstones.


Here’s a clip from

Episode 11 Chips are for Lunch, Not Diamonds and Other Helpful Jewelry Tips



Marc knobloch generously shared so much information on diamonds that i had to make two episodes!

Marc is a third generation diamond specialist in NY’s diamond district.


Marc and I spoke during the late afternoon while he was on his way home, so there are sounds of the city’s busy commute


He helped clarify a few of the complex concepts when shopping for a diamond, from

Part 1 and 2 of Diamonds Demystified with Diamond Industry Insider, Marc Knobloch




I love all jewelry, but have  a special place in my heart for colored gemstones, and when they’re big, rare, unusual and beautiful, I really take notice, like the jewelry made by CGJ by an exceptional mother - daughter team in San francisco.



Episode 10: Champagne, Rare Gemstones, and Jewelry With Denise Forbes of California Girl Jewelry




Capturing the essence and revealing the stories and meanings behind the styles and designs reflected by the significant cultural changes experienced during the Industrial Age in America is the gift Hugo Kohl offers through his exclusive vintage and antique style jewelry.


I was lucky to catch Hugo kohl of Hugo kohl jewelry  in the summer when things were a little slower, so was treated to a tour of his factory, workshop, boutique and museum

in Harrisonburg, VA.


He’s made a career from researching and discovering the tools and methods used to make the first jewelry created by the early methods and tools of the industrial era from the 1800’s.


The tour was recorded as the audio for the podcast, so you can hear the sounds of the machines, along with ambient music played at the work stations and in the museum which you can visit and tour


Episode 16 America’s Vintage Jewelry Legacy with Hugo Kohl of Hugo Kohl Jewelry


Thank you for joining me in these first few months of the podcast.


If you’ve enjoyed listening and learning about the jewelry and the designers, I’d so appreciate if you would leave a review, and be sure to visit their websites and instragram feeds and say hello, inquire about a gift design you have in mind, or just tell them how wonderful they are!


Until I return in September, reach out and say hello, tag me, message me - I’d love to hear from you!


And always remember - fasten you jewelry first before helping others with theirs!



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