Andrew Stone first traveled to the Indian sub-continent in the 1970’s with a group of high school friends. He was immediately entranced with the traditions he found there and was drawn into their ancient and highly spiritual cultures.
After several extended trips, which took him from one end of the sub-continent to the other, Andrew studied at Sotheby’s in London, England and obtained a Master’s degree in Art History at the University of Toronto. Then, it was decision time. Andrew could continue on to earn a PhD and work as a curator or professor, or return to South Asia and share the incredible jewellery made by the craftspeople of Nepal and India.
He chose the latter and has spent the past 30 years bringing this jewelry to North American and Western Europe.
Since 1983 Himalayan Gems has worked with groups of independent, hereditary master silversmiths, gemstone cutters and beaders who use traditional techniques perfected over the centuries. The ancestors of these craftspeople worked for centuries under royal patronage creating fabulous examples of the jewelers' art.
Our jewelry is produced in Kathmandu, Nepal and Jaipur, Rajasthan. These ancient cities have been centers of jewelry making since time immemorial. The rulers of these ancient kingdoms were legendary jewelry collectors and built up extensive communities of handmade jewelry production. Today we work with their descendants - incredible craftspeople who have the ability to create incredible pieces using only traditional techniques.
The women who make fabulous creations in Czech glass beads have also had their expertise passed down through the generations. For 100’s of years traders travelling the Silk Road brought these highly colored beads to Kathmandu where they are still sold in open bazaars. The highly worked pieces of beaded jewelry are known in Nepal as Potay beads. We have adapted the traditional skills of these beaders to create modern designs that are a reflection of the most current design trends.
The Potay bead orders from Designer Gallery customers have made immense differences to the lives of many of these women. Since we began working with Colleen the amount of work going to Nepal has meant that for the first time these craftswomen have financial independence and many lives have been transformed. Before each HSN show the ladies light butter lamps as a sign of the importance that this work has in their lives.
Our goal is to provide modern women with classic pieces of handmade jewelry while helping to promote the preservation of traditional jewelry making skills that risk being overwhelmed in today’s fast changing world. It is your patronage that helps keep these craftspeople doing the work of their ancestors while they often make a living that is far beyond that of their neighbors.