Jeff Nechka (G.G., A.J.P, G.I.A.), the creative force behind Premier Gems, is a certified gemologist with a passion for getting it right. Jeff’s passion for his chosen field started with a lifelong fascination with rocks, minerals and fine art. His expertise then evolved to coloured gems as he began using his design talents to create custom jewellery.
A Note From Jeff:
My Journey to Becoming a Gem Expert
I became fascinated with rocks and gems at an early age. I remember digging in my back alley to find the most unusually shaped stones and collecting various specimens from road trips. These became special mementoes of my travels. This hobby evolved as I began tumbling the rocks into smooth shiny gems, a four-week process which at the time seemed like an eternity culminating in a tense yet exciting moment as the results of my weeks of waiting were revealed and I saw what my rocks had become.
During my teens, my tastes and discerning abilities improved greatly as I became interested in collecting fine fashioned gems and begun dabbling in jewellery design by creating private commissions for family members using my self-taught skills.
After finishing high school I was torn between a career in science or continuing with a career in product design, a new faculty being offered at the Alberta College of Art and Design. I had spent almost two years in university striving for the sciences when I decided to switch my plans and attend ACAD. I had just received the acceptance notice from ACAD when a gold refiner in Central America contacted me for an internship at their newly launched jewellery studio. Not only would I be able to design jewellery there, but I would be educating clients on diamonds and gems. It was the opportunity of a lifetime and one that would launch my career. The choice to me was a simple one and I packed my bags to head south.
After the internship I was more convinced than ever that I was destined to pursue a career in the jewellery industry.
Affirmation of an Expert
Right after the internship, I enrolled at the Gemological Institute of America Headquarters to complete the skills necessary to master diamond identification and grading. A few months after the course I was off to Bangkok, Thailand to complete my studies with the Gemological Institute of America and to obtain the coveted Graduate Gemologist degree. There I studied coloured gems, their treatments and how to discern between investment-quality and mass-produced gems.
After my courses, I spent time in South East Asia, Southern, West and East Africa and Australia, buying gems with a German gem merchant before settling back in Calgary to learn the ropes of operating a retail business and finally opening Premier Gems in 2005.
Since 2005 I have mastered the art of gem and diamond cutting and have established international connections in the best markets to exceed every client’s request.
Today I am the only Western Canadian member of the International Coloured Stone Association, and one of only a handful of members belonging to the American Gem Trade Associations. These organizations are the governing bodies for the industry, laying out best practice principles, ethical standards and making each member accountable to their strict guidelines. Belonging to these associations ensures consumer confidence.
I have come a long way from my humble beginnings hunting through gravel behind my house for that rare hidden treasure. My only wish is to be able to create unique pieces of jewellery so that every gem can tell its story.
Looking at a rough gem, I always feel a sense of excitement as I try to determine the gem’s personality through its outer form. I fashion gems by listening to my heart to avoid over-thinking while cutting, which can result in frustrating mistakes and heartache. If successful, the gem will dance harmoniously in the light, catching the viewer’s eye with its seductive sparkle. Once the gems are fashioned, my true passion is designing custom jewellery that highlights the gems while being an expression of the wearer’s style.
Today, my experience and portfolio speak for themselves, and I am constantly striving to exercise my design skills in new and challenging ways. My future is as bright and sparkling as the stones I work with.
PREMIER GEMS TEAM MEMBERS
Liz Kranyak, Designer
Credentials & Background:
Art Fundamentals (Certificate, Haliburton School of Art)
Jewellery Arts (Certificate Haliburton School of Art)
Jewellery and Metals (Certificate, Georgian College)
Goldsmithing and Silversmithing (Certificate, Georgian College)
Growing up in the Niagara Region of Ontario, I have found plenty of inspiration with its rich history and deep connection to nature. I have been drawing… >> Keep Reading
Mike Johnstone, Gemologist
Mike first met Jeff as a client when he consulted Premier Gems to commission a custom engagement ring for his fiancée Suzanne. He was so affected by the experience that he decided to become a gemologist himself, and study under Jeff at Premier Gems! He’s now part of the Premier Gems family and will be fully certified in 12-18 months. For the full story…>> Keep Reading
Jeff Nechka, Gemologist and Owner
Jeff Nechka is the creative force behind Premier Gems, and is a certified gemologist whose list of credentials include G.G., A.J.P, and G.I.A. He is also the only Western Canadian member of the International Coloured Stone Association, and one of only a handful of members belonging to the American Gem Trade Associations… >> Keep Reading
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