“Right now, my daily favorite are a pair of Jordan Fragment 3’s. People who know me know that’s my silhouette.”
That’s Dave Bindra of B&B Find Gems talking about his current preferred shoe choice. It makes sense to start with kicks when talking to Dave Bindra. All it takes is one look at his Instagram at @Gemfluencer to see why.
Dave’s page is filled with videos that start the same way. A shot of his shoe of the day, followed by a matching colored gemstone, shining brilliantly. With over 17,000 followers, the style that drives B&B Fine Gems is on full display. “I love merging the worlds of fashion and music and gemstones.”
While certainly a means of personal expression, Dave’s Instagram isn’t only a casual artistic outlet. It’s a necessary tool to connect the full arc of a gem, from miner to lapidary to consumer.
“With Instagram, we’re able to showcase the collaborative efforts we have with designers like (Cate Claus, Founder of Thesis Gems). In many cases, a gem will move through our hands and we’ll never know what happens with it.
With someone like Cate, she’s taken the bull by the horns and said, ‘I’m sharing every part of my story and my ethos.’ It adds to the full transparency of how she operates and it’s rewarding for us to see what art can be created with the material we procure with so much pride.”
A Story of Skill
B&B Fine Gems is a family business, so the pursuit of fine gems is in his blood, but Dave credits the Gemological Institute of America with developing his inherent ability.
“I know people who have been successful without it, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without that foundation. The foundation it gives you as a gemologist is tremendous. The personal network you create at the institute has incalculable value. It solidified my passion in the industry. I saw so many things I had never seen before.”
Not only was his time there eye-opening as an artisan, but it established a tone for how he wanted to be led by his ethics in this market.
“Being involved to the degree I am has made me realize how important it is as stewards of the industry to protect the consumer. It’s a reminder of how privileged we are to be in the space and handle what we handle. There are beautiful stories to be told. But they need to be told in a responsible tone.”
A Story of Responsibility
“Sustainability is easy to throw around. It’s like the term organic. It's not just a story about sustainability. It’s a story of responsibility.”
Dave and the team at B&B Fine Gems look at the totality of the effect they have on the ecosystems they are a part of, not merely ecologically, but financially. A key focus of theirs has been to double down on the traceability of their gems.
“We source gemstones from mining localities from all over the globe. There are aspects of the colored gemstone market that are inherently chaotic. A miner who pulls piece of rough out of the ground in Tanzania may not have the means to sell it, so they may have to travel to Bangkok, and that person may send the gemstone to be cut elsewhere. It’s a process that supports many individual livelihoods.”
Traceability isn’t just a buzzword, though. When customers are walking away with a piece of fine jewelry, they want to know it’s an item they can be proud of. The team at B&B Fine Gems always has that in mind.
“Traceability is important ethically, for instance. You wouldn’t want a gem from a regime that is oppressive to their people or a specific mining locality where the conditions are less than favorable. On the other hand, traceability tells a story and there’s a romance and a beauty to that. It’s a renaissance time for colored gemstones. People are falling back in love with what makes these items so unique; the stories and the communities that come along with them. That story is just as important as the gemstone itself.”
A Story of Value
Finding the right partner to help make you work shine is invaluable. Dave Bindra knows that, particularly when it comes to his work with Thesis Gems.
“Cate is a composer who understands how each section of the orchestra works together to create a symphony. She’s so sensitive to the needs of a gemstone specialist.”
As with most artistic endeavors, skill is great, but the relationships you build are what keep you going. When asked what he cares about most in the his career, his answer was simple:
“I am one piece in an entire ecosystem of the individuals we work with. The greatest value we see is not in our collection of rare and beautiful gemstones, but in the human network we’ve developed over a long period of time. Our relationships with miners in different parts of the world, our lapidary and master cutters, the peers in our space or our clients, that network are crucial to the foundation and the value of B&B. That’s all I care about, personally.”
Make sure to find out more about Dave Bindra and the gems he procures for B&B Fine Gems from his Instagram.