To celebrate International Women‘s Day, PJ recognises four professionals working in the industry blazing a trail for women across the jewellery sector through innovation, creativity and a fierce entrepreneurial spirit.
Gemmology Rocks founder Kerry Gregory fell into a job in jewellery, but fast found a passion for the industry and its many varied avenues, now providing gemmology education with her company Gemmology Rocks
Kerry Gregory founded Gemmology Rocks in November 2017 after a successful six-year stint as a gemstone and specialist jewellery manager at Harvey & Thompson Pawnbrokers.
Her company facilitates the education of those interested in gemmology, regardless of their existing knowledge of the subject.
Despite these successes, Gregory’s path to a career in jewellery and gemmology education was not always set in stone.
In fact, aged 19 she was assistant manager of a South Wales pub after moving out from her family home and being expelled from school two years earlier before she could complete her A-Levels.
Gregory reveals that she found a passion for the hospitality work, often putting in in excess of 100 hours a week with no overtime pay.
Despite enjoying the “gruelling and thankless” labour, the young Gregory knew she needed to find a job that would turn into a career.
She says: “I saw the advert for a position in a jewellers and went for it. I totally fell in love with jewellery, and specifically gemstones and gemmology, undertaking my Gem-A diploma within the first two years.”
However, eventually came the time for Gregory to move on from working for others, and forge her own path.
On being self-employed, she says: “You don’t have to do things other people’s way; you don’t have to conform; you don’t need to do what is safe, what everyone else is doing. Many people will tell you you’re wrong, but listen to your instinct, know what you are capable of and go out and achieve it regardless.”
Skip forward a few years and Gemmology Rocks is in full swing. Its founder says of the business: “We provide businesses and individuals in the jewellery industry with affordable, efficient and relevant education and support. We break down the barriers to education, and help anyone who wants to learn, no matter where they are, how they learn, or their current level of skill or knowledge.”
In spite of all she has achieved, Gregory is always striving to improve and is a lifelong learner.
She completed a graduate gemmologist diploma with GIA last year and is now studying a Level 5 Diploma in development and training to become a fully qualified further education teacher.
With her ever-increasing credentials, knowledge and experience she hopes to expand Gemmology Rocks in order to provide education and careers for others like her.
Asked whether she would recommend a career in jewellery to other women, Gregory answers very much in the affirmative.
Be yourself; it’s exhausting trying to be anyone else!”
“A career in jewellery gives you infinite possibilities,” she says. “There are so many varied roles that you can apply your particular skills, aptitudes and interests to. You never have to be stagnant or stuck – there is always room to grow, a new challenge to conquer – but it is also a place you can find a role that you love, never want to leave and can call home.”
And finally, without a moment’s hesitation, she echoes the best advice she ever received: “Be yourself; it’s exhausting trying to be anyone else!”