By Chelsea Rose Moore
This Christmas, why not get that special someone a precious stone they will treasure for years to come?
Want to get them something unique and authentic that will be cherished for generations but not sure where to start? Want to make sure the gem was sourced in an ethical manner? Check. Want a unique color? Check. Want something one-of-a-kind? Jewelry broker Joel Borgquist is the guy to help in the search for that perfect Christmas piece.
His company, ColorBroker, specializes in tracking down gems from all over the world. Founded after watching friends and family purchase what he says were inferior products at unreasonable prices, Borgquist and his wife, Krista, started the company to develop a solution and ensure gems are extracted responsibly.“We chose the name ColorBroker because there’s so much color in our world and in our earth,” said Borgquist. “It was one of the things that struck me about our company: a lot of that quality and that color was not getting to the consumer. We are the brokers of these beautiful colors.”
Although people tend to associate gems with particular colors, Borgquist noted the large variety of colors and types of gems. For instance, a garnet is more than one shade of red; it varies in color. In fact, his company is featuring a wine-colored garnet, called a grape garnet. At ColorBroker, the goal is to find pieces that will be worn and handed down to future generations.
“A lot of people have never experienced this level of quality,” Joel said. “We want to get our clients the piece that is right for them, and we want them to know the information on the piece they are buying. The word ‘rare’ is thrown around a lot, but many gems are actually common. We let our clients know what they are buying and what makes it unique. We try to educate.” In 2016, he started a nonprofit, The Trade Foundation, with the hopes of developing a system to track and trace gems all the way to the consumer.Different than a Main Street jewelry store business model where customers drop in to browse, ColorBroker’s unique service does not require a traditional brick and mortar location. Specifically tailored to each client, the Borgquists start with a face-to-face meeting, then move to phone calls during the process, and finally hand-deliver each gem. The Warrenton residents service the entire Northern Virginia area.
“A big focus of ours is to partner with people who are local,” said Borgquist who serves on the board of the Jewelry Industry Summit. ColorBroker hosts events at local wineries, where guests can sip wine and learn about precious gems. One of their upcoming events – a Holiday Pearl Night – will be held at Barrel Oak Winery on Dec. 7, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and is open to the public. Guests will learn what makes a pearl valuable, can touch and hold pearls and learn how to determine if it is a genuine or fake. The couple are both certified pearl specialist by the Cultured Pearl Association of America. Hosting public events is one of the Borgquist’s favorite ways to meet locals and spread the word about their services.The Borgquists love delivering that special piece to clients. “The look in their eyes says everything,” he said. To learn more or to work with Joel and Krista Borgquist, find more details on their website www.colorbroker.com. Find them on Facebook @ColorBroker or contact them via email: Joel@ColorBroker.com.
This article first appeared in the December issue of Middleburg Life.