b'are from more marginalized, artisanal miners, including women who are not always able to access the best equipment or the best mining techniques to extract the highest quality gems. We have what we have, and those gems are as beautiful. Our cus-tomers are more interested in the story.Q: Every year, Pantone names a Color of the Year. Thisyear, it is Viva Magenta. Does this annual announcement impact desirability? A: Viva Magenta really captures a mood and an energy that is hap-pening right now with designers and consumers. It has a lot of energy and playfulness to it, and I think its striking the right chord where people want to be right now. So, fresh in from Tucson, we just saw a tremendous interest in pinks.Q: We lost a lot of people during the pandemic. What kind of impact has this had on the colored gemstone supply chain and, ultimately, prices? A: A lot of people didnt look at mining as a viable activity at the height of the pandemic and so we tried to figure out ways to go ahead and support those communities through purchasing their rough gems.Lotanna Even in our absence, through export brokers theyre trying to sustain those supply chains. But theres definitely an impact overallAmina all through the supply chain. OkpukparaQ: I f you were to be reincarnated as a gemstone,Director and which one would it be and why?Gemologist, Mina StonesA: Spinel (pictured at right). I love the fact that spinels historically have been a bit of a chameleon, with their incredible color spec- Are you seeing a growing popularity fortrum and optics mimicking other gems.colored gemstones from your consumer base? I also love that spinels are associated with the characteristic of helping put the ego asideWe get lots of requests for colored gemstones and and become devoted to others, as well as rep- it forms the majority of the orders we fulfill. This resenting passion, all things I identify with. Plus, the spinels fromranges through all the colored stone products we where I source from in East Africa are truly gorgeous gems.offer, from rough gemstones to cut and polished pieces, and gemstone jewelry. Emerald, sapphire, morganite, aquamarine and amethyst are very popular on our consumer list.Q:How are you connecting with the next generation of colored gemstone consumers, designers, etc.? A: Majorly through social media and networking.Q: Origin has been tied to value. Do you agree with this, or do you think a gems beauty and quality should determine the value? A: I think the beauty and quality of a gem should determine its value. We hope it changes soon. We, collectively, can start mar-Monica Stephenson examinesketing the value of gemstones for what they are and not where recent production from athey are from.womens cooperative garnet mine in Tanga, Tanzania.NATIONAL JEWELER 73'