Q&A: Steve Bennett on ITV’s Gems TV programme

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The firm’s CEO on the hunt to find gemstones and the very best staff.

Viewers of ITV last night might have found themselves getting familiar with the Bennett family, owners of The Genuine Gemstone Company, parent business of Gems TV, Gemporia, NowSeen and Jewellery Maker.

The TV show, titled Gems TV, went behind-the-scenes at "Britain’s number one retail jewellery business", taking a closer look at the relationships between the business owners – Hot 100 2014 Business Big Shot Steve Bennett and his wife Sarah – and their wider family, who regularly present Gems TV and are also involved in other aspects of the business.

The focus of the show centred on tanzanite – Gems TV bestselling stone – and the lack of rough available. Bennett has embarked on a mission to find more tanzanite, while also promoting spessartite as the new must-have gemstone, even renaming it to make it more appealing to Gems TV viewers.

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In an exclusive talk with Steve Bennett, Professional Jeweller finds out more about what the TV show means for the business.

Professional Jeweller: Was the idea to have a TV show about The Genuine Gemstone Company (TGGC) in the pipeline for some time or has this come about recently?
Steve Bennett: We’ve always shared the story behind our business with our customers and this has been an integral part of Gems TV to date. The opportunity to do this documentary came about last year and we were keen to do it and share our story with ITV viewers. No day is ever the same at Gems TV, showcasing live shows 24-hours-a-day is hard work but we wanted the documentary to show all aspects of our business – from the personality of our team to the gem expeditions and the challenges we face in the industry.

PJ: Tell us about the programme’s concept – you head out in search of tanzanite – why so?
SB: It was important for us to give viewers an insight into what happens behind the scenes at Gems TV and we did just that. We explore some of the industry’s challenges which constantly affect our business and one of our biggest challenges is the sourcing of gemstones. There is no other industry quite like the gemstone industry and there is certainly no other mining activity that is so hit and miss. When it comes to gemstone mining and discovery, it is almost always an unknown entity. Gemstone finds can be very sporadic and with them often being confined to the remotest places on our planet, the documentary follows us on our hunt to find tanzanite. I am often asked which gemstone would make the best investment, or which gem represents the best value but gemstones are like many things that people invest in. If everyone believed that the same gemstone was a good investment then the demand would increase and the price would become over-inflated which could mean it’s no longer a good investment. My new book, The Lure of Gems explores our recent travels and challenges and is a useful guide to the world’s most exquisite and rarest gemstones.

PJ: You also show the hunt for new talent for TGGC and its brands – what is the main challenge when it comes to finding staff?
SB: The main challenge for us is finding people who are passionate about gemstones and our business. We search for people that share our passion and work ethic, this industry can be challenging at times but it’s also very rewarding. We created the mine-to-market philosophy for the business and this has always been at the heart of what our parent company, The Genuine Gemstone Company does. We created the business out of my passion, together with a continued commitment to quality and an ethical approach to business so it is important for me that this legacy lives on, and that starts with a good team.

PJ: What do you hope the TGGC business will gain from the TV show?
SB: I would hope that the documentary provides an enlightening insight into the world of gemstones and our Gems TV business. I hope that our Gems TV customers watch the documentary and feel proud to be a part of our family business and are proud of what we do. I would also hope that it gives those who are not familiar with shopping channels an insight into what TV shopping is about and hopefully they might be tempted to watch Gems TV one day.


To find out more about the Gems TV show, as shown at 9pm on ITV on September 2, click here.

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