After an in-flight whiskey at 30,000 feet en route to acquiring a Zambian
emerald mine, David asked…

"Why do gem dealers become gem dealers?"
The answer will surprise you...

Hi, I’m Alvin Sillitoe, aka, the reluctant gemstone dealer.

At 17, I had ambitions of becoming a big shot London accountant, but life had other plans. My Dad died.

And after falling asleep in far too many accountant lessons while grieving his death, something had to change. It did the minute I purchased an Olympus camera, anti-malaria pills, and a one-way ticket to Africa.

Wild safaris, cross-border river adventures, the cold steel of a 9mm pistol to the forehead (a story for another day), and a host of other close calls, proved it was time to refocus. Fascinated by the fist-sized rough emerald Dad held up to the sunlight when I was a nine-year-old boy inspired my first investment in the Kakula Aquamarine Mine. It proved to be a financial disaster.

Forced to take even bigger risks, I started to hunt large carat single gems in remote, hard-to-reach deposits across Africa.

Along the way, I learned things the hard way. I lost fine stones to poor cutting, so I took to the faceting lap and learned the often-overlooked art of pre-forming. This allowed me to serenade the crystal ten times longer. Finally getting the most out of my hard-earned rough crystals.

It wasn't long before my combined experience lead me to become an in-demand gemstone mining consultant, which involved raising funds for AIM-listed mining companies like African Diamonds (now trading as Lucara, whom you’re probably aware recently discovered the 813-carat diamond, which sold at auction for $63 million). That said...

Profit wasn't exactly the
correct answer to David's question...

After I failed to answer the question correctly, David took a victory swig of whiskey and replied "Because they're too scared to become drug dealers!”

The jury is still out on that pearl, but sometimes, I wonder if I’m the fool crossing crocodile-infested rivers and sleeping in villages with man-eating rats just to bring back fine gems for discerning clients like James who once said: "Wow, I've never seen a piece this colour!"

Do your profits depend on sourcing exquisite beauties? Our small, rich inventory is certainly not for everyone, but it may be just what you are looking for.

The jury is still out on that pearl, but sometimes, I wonder if I’m the fool crossing crocodile-infested rivers and sleeping in villages with man-eating rats just to bring back fine gems for discerning clients like James who once said: "Wow, I've never seen a piece this colour!"

Do your profits depend on sourcing exquisite beauties? Our small, rich inventory is certainly not for everyone, but it may be just what you are looking for.

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