Michael Abraham - Interview with Luxury Travel Magazine

I was fortunate to be interviewed this week for Luxury Travel Magazine. Luxury Travel Magazine does a host of interviews every month of various business and society people, and I was very happy they chose to interview me. The full interview can be read on their website.  www.luxurytravelmagazine.com     

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I read that your gemological interest began as a child growing up in New York City.  What trips or gemstone locations were the most memorable to you from your childhood Stateside?

Mineral collection was not a typical hobby for people in New York City. But I think having the experience of traveling outside of the comforts of urban life and into remote backcountry locations in search of stones, really was a great experience for me as a child. My parents took me around the United States, camping out and hunting for stones. Some memorable places were in Montana, where we looked for sapphires; upstate New York, in Herkimer, where we went searching for “Herkimer Diamonds” (which are really quartz crystals of exceptional beauty). Also, I have fond memories of being in Kemmerer, Wyoming collecting fossil fish.

So your father was a gemstones dealer?

No actually, he is a Lawyer. Stone were just a hobby for my parents. They actually prefer them in the uncut mineral state. It took me a while to decide on gems and jewelry as a career.

So how did you get into the business side of gems – what was your journey?

I went to New York University, Stern school of business. After graduating I moved to Berlin, Germany to work in project management, on an aerospace engineering project. I think this really help get my design juices flowing and gave me a look at systematized , large scale industrial design.  Taking elements from this helped me a lot, when I transitioned into gems and jewelry. The company I was working for eventually closed, and I felt like it was time to do something I had passion for.  While in Germany I did some research and saw that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) had a campus in Bangkok. A few days later I was formalizing my application, and a month later I was in Bangkok taking full time classes. A year after that, I had my own office in Bangkok and was buying stones for American manufacturers. I subsequently got more into jewelry making, and decided I needed to be closer to my clients in the USA and moved back to New York.

How much traveling do you do, and where are you mostly traveling?

These days I am traveling just about as much as I am in New York. I need to be on the road and in the field, because I never know when something interesting comes up. I also have my clients with particular requests, and in order to accommodate them I have to always be on the hunt.  This past year I have been mostly visiting Myanmar and sourcing there. Normally I’ll spend a week or so in Bangkok, then two weeks traveling around Myanmar, and then another week in Bangkok before heading back to New York. Then I’ll stay in New York for a few weeks making and designing jewelry pieces from the gems I purchase before heading back out to Asia. Other places I travel are Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Tanzania. I also have spent 6 months in the jungles of Sierra Leone developing a diamond and gold mining site for local miners.

Do you ever feel you’re in danger in these places?

I think a healthy dose of fear is always good in this business. There are dangers everywhere, but for the most part I have had more good experiences than bad. I tend to meet good hard working and genuine people in the most unlikely places. It also depends on the culture of the countries I visit. Some are a bit more aggressive than others. 

The rest of the interview is available on the Luxury Travel Magazine website: 

  

NYC: Invitations Interview With Me

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Today NYC:Invitations - a website which does a variety of charity and business events ran an article on me, as part of their series of "Inspiring Individuals." Part of the interview is posted below along with a link to their site where the rest is available.

 

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Tell us about Michael Abraham Gem Stones.
I am a gemologist, and have always been interested in fine gems. I have been working mainly in jewelry design the last few years, but wanted to get back to my roots. I have always done custom pieces for people, and sourced gems, but now I have decided to focus on that aspect of my business. So Michael Abraham gems, is basically about connecting fine gems with private clients, who will wear and appreciate them.  

 
I read that your gem interest began as a child, here in the States.  What stones or rocks or caves are most memorable Stateside?  Any that you would visit again?
As a child I went often with my parents around the US camping out, and hunting for stones. Some memorable places were in Montana, where we looked for sapphires, upstate New York, in Herkimer where we went searching for “Herkimer Diamonds” (which are really quartz crystals of exceptional beauty). Also, I have fond memories of being in Kemmerer Wyoming collecting fossil fish.