Professional gemologist Zenobia Morrow breaks down the whys and hows of her cool career. Read on.
1. Keeping it Professional. Gemology is a science dealing with gems and minerals. A gemologist is somebody who’s trained to identify gems [and] minerals of all kinds and I specialize in diamonds and finer gemstones. I’m also a diamond dealer, which is someone who sells loose diamonds to retail stores and private clients. As a dealer, your days are filled with buying, selling, trading, and understanding the diamond market. Once I began my career path I realized how many incredible female jewelry designers there were but didn’t really see Black female diamond dealers and gemologists in the field. I wanted to be that person.
2. Career Revamp—and Challenges. “I attended Howard University in D.C. and worked as a fine artist for a while right after school. I quickly realized that I wanted to go back to school and do something totally different. I did some research, found the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and enrolled in their graduate program in gemology. I also studied jewelry design during my program, which laid the foundation for my career change. The industry is full of family-owned and operated businesses, which meant I knew I had to have the formal education to be competitive. I started working with a Diamond House in New York and from there I moved into a private client base. Now I make fine jewelry, and other special projects, for private clients all over the world.”
3. Jewelry Has Always Been Her Thing. I’ve loved fine jewelry since I was a little girl. My mother loved antiques, so we’d go antiquing all over the south. I would go right up to the jewelry counter in every shop. Even though those jewels were mostly rhinestones it reminded me of old Hollywood glamour. Back then, I didn’t know that jewelry making and designing was a career. I didn’t know anything about collectors either. I just loved the artistry and the colors.
4. Engagement Rings Are Her Specialty. Guys should know that the key thing is getting a bit of an idea about what his lady likes. Most women have picked out their engagement ring long before they’ve even met the man, so chances are she probably has an idea in her mind of the cut and style she wants. After you determine what she wants—whether its from discreet questions or friends— find a gemologist that you trust to get you the best pricing and guide you on the pluses and minuses of his or her selection.
5. Gemstones Are God’s Gift. Every element that comes up through the earth to make a diamond appear on the surface has been there since the beginning of our planet, so wearing these stones is really special. I remember looking through a diamond with the microscope for the first time and I just feeling like I was transported to this different world. It was so clear and you could just see through to eternity.
Follow Zenobia and her work on Instagram at @TheZenobia!