Antonia Viuhkola, COO, Joopy Gems USA
Greetings from Portland, Oregon! My name is Antonia Viuhkola and it is a pleasure to introduce myself as Julia’s director and partner in crime (can you say that when you sell gemstones?!) on the ground here in the United States.
Julia and I met shortly after my family arrived in Hong Kong back in 2010. Our children were school mates and dance class mates from the beginning and over time Julia and I became supper club mates and running mates. In 2015 my husband and I decided it was time to begin making plans for our family to return home to the suburbs of Portland, Oregon and it was at that time Julia approached me about helping her launch a branch of her business in the USA. We decided to give it a go and so, for the past year I have been working closely with Julia to learn about Joopy Gems.
By filling and shipping orders, meeting with suppliers, and tagging along to gem shows in Hong Kong I have learned a great deal about the business and have had the opportunity to see how and where Julia acquires her inventory. I have earned the Applied Jewelry Professional certificate through GIA and intend to further my education by continuing on with the colored gemstones program.
Julia Aufenast, President, Joopy Gems USA
Welcome to Joopy Gems USA! Many of you will know me from Joopy Gems; we are now fully incorporated in the US and we are very excited to be here! For of you who don't; I'm on a mission to make the work a more shiny, sparkly place, one stone at a time! I am a Brit; a trained psychologist and sometime jeweler and lampworker and in 2009 I followed my husband out to Hong Kong. I soon discovered that Hong Kong is a gem center and therefore a fantastic place for sourcing gems and pearls of all kinds. At first I sourced the stones for my own needs, selling off my spares, but I quickly became fascinated with the stones themselves, and began to experiment with different stones and cuts, learning all the time. I specialize in rose cuts and cabochons, as these were the stones I had used myself and had struggled to find, experiencing problems with quality as cabochons are frequently cut from less good material. I made it my mission to plug this gap in the market, to offer an extensive range of gemstones, sizes and cuts, and to offer them in high quality material. Most of my stones are cut to my specifications and I am always adding to my range. I also have a good range of mixed cut (traditional) gemstones, freeform polki cuts, as well as pearls. As my inventory has grown, so has my knowledge and I am a GIA Graduate Coloured Stones, working my way towards full Graduate Gemologist status.