With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, tried and true gifts for your sweetheart are popping up everywhere. Supermarket shelves are stocked with chocolates, balloons, and teddy bears. Restaurants take reservations for fancy dinners, and diamonds, gemstones, and jewels have become a tangible symbol of love and appreciation.
Jewelry is one of the most iconic forms of culture, not only as a token of love, but for many, as a symbol of recognition passed down through generations. Jewelry plays an important part in company culture as well, as one of the most popular gifts for service awards among companies. For hundreds of years, jewelry has been used as a symbol of prestige in the workplace, honoring those employees who have given many years of service or have gone above and beyond in their career. At MTM Recognition, we are no stranger to quality work, with over 45 years of experience providing beautifully handcrafted jewelry. Karen Brogran, MTM’s very own gemologist and resident diamond expert, has been in the business for 36 years. She is GIA certified – meaning that she has taken diamond and gemstone courses and received the certificates from the Gemological Institute of America. With a wide range of experience in everything from inventory to jewelry design to grading for diamonds, gemstones, and precious metals, she’s a wealth of knowledge on the subject.
Interview with MTM’s Gemologist Karen Brogran
MTM: What are the most important factors when looking for diamonds/gemstones for MTM?
Karen: Our diamonds are all precise diameters, so not only do you make sure the the stone is in our quality (which includes clarity and color) range it must also be in our size range. This helps the stone setter when he or she is setting 3pt diamonds they can burr the piece with one tool and set the stones without any problems. Our diamond quality is determined so that our stones setters do not have a problem with breakage, also guaranteeing that with ordinary wear, our customers will not lose or break a diamond.
MTM: What part of your job do you find most challenging and most rewarding?
Karen: Being a gemologist, it relaxes me to grade diamonds. The most challenging is when we have big orders. I try to get the best diamonds for the best price, this helps both MTM and our customers.
MTM: Do you have a preferred or favorite stone to work with and why?
Karen: The colored stones that are offered are beautiful. My favorite is the blue topaz. It is available in 3 different shades and I previously had the opportunity to make a ring showing this effect. Still there is nothing like a diamond, especially a well cut one – the light will reflect off the stone and do nothing but dazzle you.
MTM: They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Would you say that diamonds are the most requested stone, or is there another?
Karen: That song just happens to be my ring tone! The precious and semi-precious colored stones are beautiful. Some people looking to get engaged are checking into various color stones for a unique look. This is all good and shows individuality, but eventually everyone comes back to diamonds. There is just nothing that will replace the look and feel when you own them. There is a lot of talk right now about synthetic diamonds taking a toll on the market. This was also said when they introduced all the various diamond simulants. But diamonds are still the ultimate stone and will probably remain so for years to come.
If you’re interested in sharing the love with your employees through the bling that only diamonds can bring, contact us at 877-MTM-RING (877-686-7464) for more info about our jewelry services or creating your own piece.