“How often do you see a gray spinel?” asks Eva Meijer, the creator and designer of Eva Gems & Jewels. Perched over a trove containing thousands of dollars worth of loose colored gem stones, Meijer picks up the gray spinel, and light refracts in myriad directions.
The stone itself is exquisite, as the gray in its name is misleading. There’s nothing drab or dull about this stone, which reflects tones of purple, blue, and neon sheen. The spinel, however, is a stone few people know about, despite its historical significance. Many famous red spinels are mistaken for rubies, including those in Queen Elizabeth’s crown jewels.
Intrigued by the narrative of gemstones, Meijer, a former corporate attorney, travels all over the world to source rare and dazzling gems. “I was putting in gemstone earrings one day when I realized how much love I had for gemstones, and that I missed creativity in my life.” In order to sate her lust for creativity, Meijer gave up her nine-to-five, and pursued a degree in gemology in Bangkok where she was trained by a renowned Indian gem dealer.
One of the gemstone capitals of the world, if not the, Bangkok is home to the finest gem dealers. “The Indians, with their history of princely Maharaja and Nawab rulers have been in the gem trade for millennia,” says Meijer, whose degree in gemology covered training in identification of stones as well as grading and pricing. Soon after she completed her degree, Meijer launched Eva Gems & Jewels, and since then has been selling bespoke jewelry internationally in trunk shows. When she’s in Paris, Milan, London, and New York, Meijer works in collaboration with luxe brands in New York like Caudalie, Laduree, and Exhale Spa.
Although she calls Den Bosch, Holland home, Meijer has plans to set up shop in New York and London, where she finds the fashion vibe is more receptive to her “funky, outrageous” taste in colored jewelry. Riding the trend of bespoke fashion and jewelry, where the wearer plays an integral part in the creation of one-of-a-kind fashion and accessories, Meijer will make an appointment with a client and advise them on what colors are most suitable on their skin tone. Clients can choose from Meijer’s own designs, or come up with something completely original. Every design is rendered in matte 18 karat gold and the cut of the stone emphasizes color. Though Meijer has a penchant for asymmetrical jewelry designs, generally her designs are simple. “The stones are crazily beautiful; my designs can be simple to highlight the stone.”
As Meijer is not herself a goldsmith, she will then send each bespoke piece to a gem dealer whose atelier she works with in Bangkok. “Because these gemstones are one-of-a-kind, each piece is one-of-a-kind. The fun is hunting for the stone.” She adds with pride, “95 percent of gemstone hunters are male.”
The more intense the color of a stone, the higher its price. This is because intense colors are extremely rare and difficult to find in nature. For example, an electric blue tourmaline, which is now mainly found in Mozambique, is priced not only by weight, but by how rare it is. “We don’t know how long they will be found in Mozambique, which of course is part of the hunt, the fun.”
What makes colored gemstones special? The idea that beauty is subjective is a modern day standard. However, with gemstones, there are objective standards of beauty that determines just how beautiful a gemstone may be. “You want to look first and foremost for color, color, color. We want high brilliance, of course. Secondly, be aware of a stone’s durability (meaning the hardness and toughness) that will translate into its resistance to scratches and breaking.”
For example the pastel pink spinel is often mistaken for a diamond, but is much more rare, and gives more sparkle.