The most precious gems on earth were forged in exploding stars billions of years ago and shaped under fantastic pressures in the rocks beneath us. Look into one and it’s as if you can see the whole universe within their dazzling depths. Rare, precious and breathtakingly beautiful, the finest gemstones have an almost other-worldly quality about them. It was this quality that captured the imagination of David Jerome, now known as one of the foremost authorities on brilliantly coloured gemstones.
It could have all been so different. David’s first job was as a hairdressing apprentice and it was here that he quickly developed an interest in colouring. Fast forward a few years and ‘Jerome Russell Hair Colour’, his personal invention, took the market by storm in the 1980s; beloved by hairdressers, their on-trend public and most famously, the charismatic basketball star of the times, Dennis Rodman.
“Everything to do with vivid colours interests me,” he tells Xupes “I even used to have a shop that sold parrots.” Even his colourful paintings adorn the walls of his home.
But it was the chance discovery of a box of loose gemstones among his late father’s belongings that changed the course of his career. “My father had worked in the East End on the market stalls and he used to sell things in exchange for gemstones. I didn’t know about this until he passed away and I found all these loose stones in his house. I thought they were too beautiful to leave as they were, so I designed rings to showcase them. Once they came back I was completely hooked and that’s when I started “David Jerome Jewellery.”
Since starting his gemstone business David has been all over the world sourcing stones; from Myanmar to India, South America to Africa. These trips can last weeks at a time because finding gems of superior quality and colour is very rarely a matter of chance. You need knowledge, in-the-field experience and an eye for opportunity.
“I would stay with the workers in the mines day in, day out when we cut the stones. I remember, they had a rope up the stairs to the factories, and I said: “Crikey, it’s dangerous getting up here, and there are no burglar alarms or security.” The workers responded to me saying ‘Well if they can ever get up the stairs, good luck to them!” ”
“I always look for the best of the best in terms of colour and clarity, and I’m happy to pay a premium to get the best,” he says, “and that means having guards with you everywhere you go when sourcing and purchasing these gemstones because everything is bought with cash!”
This brings us to the subject of provenance, a subject that David is keen to talk about as he’s very aware of the potential pitfalls that await the novice buyer. All of the stones in the David Jerome collection are cut by hand, and fully certificated. His gems are all ethically sourced from legitimate mining operations. This is a rare quality in a market where too many seemingly wonderful coloured gems have been artificially coloured and given other artificial treatments.
“I know my stones inside out, from source to completion and that’s what I love about it,” he says.
In talking with David it’ s clear he possesses a relentless enthusiasm for fine stones that’s fuelled a lifetime spent in pursuit of his passion. His collection has taken decades to put together but now David feels that the time has come to find new caretakers for these magnificent gems. We’re honoured and delighted that he has chosen Xupes to help him find them. The pieces now available at Xupes are the first David Jerome jewels to have been offered outside their rare appearances at auction and in private sales.
“I want to share my creations with people and I am very particular about whom I decide to do business with, and who I trust. When I met Joe and Frank at Xupes I felt completely relaxed and enthused that they have the ability to showcase my creations in all of their beauty.”
Shop The David Jerome Collection.