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British Gem's Shine at the Gem Lovers Conference USA

Jewellery & Watch News

This July some of America's keenest gemstone and jewellery enthusiasts were invited to a very special event held in Knoxville, Tennessee. The 2014 Gem Lover's Conference.

The VIP guests were spoilt to three days of talks, classes, and activities, all brimming with a fascinating knowledge and expertise that is only available from a group of the worlds leading experts in the gemmological and jewellery industry. 

Representing British Gemstones was Chris Sellors from W Hamond, Whitby, The Original Whitby Jet Shop. Chris gave five classes explaining in detail the history, geology and importance of our two very special gems; Whitby Jet and Derbyshire Blue John.

"I wanted to put across to people just how important these gemstones are to our British history, not just on an industrial level, but socially as well. Whitby Jet has been the craft of Yorkshires finest artisans for generations, and some of the Blue John ornaments made in the 18th century are now hugely important pieces of our creative history!"

Chris also gave customers the chance to purchase some of Britain's natural treasures, after they set up a small shop displaying some carefully selected pieces ranging from rare gemstone specimens to one-off diamond set pieces. 

"It was great to be able to share my knowledge with such an interested audience" says Chris, who has worked with Whitby Jet from a young age. "A lot of the people there hadn't even heard of one or both of the gemstones, so showing them some of the pieces in our shop was a delight! Gemstone collectors just couldn't believe the lightness in weight of the Whitby Jet, or the unusual colour banding of the Blue John. It's touching and holding the gems that makes it interesting, there's only so much you can get from the pictures in a book." 

Whitby Jet; made from the fossilised remains of the Monkey Puzzle Tree on the North Yorkshire coast.   

Blue John; a type of Fluorite from Castleton, Derbyshire.


A room full of wonders! The Whitby Jet and Blue John shop was held in a dedicated area.

Guests attending jewellery and gemstone classes at the 2014 Gem Lover's Conference, Tennessee.