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    Inside the Jewelry Box of a Longtime Gem Breakfast Collector


    Gillian's full Gem Breakfast ring collection

    To celebrate our 6th birthday, we’re chatting with Gillian, one of our first ever customers with the most incredible, covetable Gem Breakfast collection.

    A travel-loving Gemini, Gillian works in finance and fully embodies the treat yourself energy we love – celebrating milestones and just-because moments with all the statement-making OOAK fine jewelry.  

    Take a peek into her jewelry box filled with all the delectable diamond, gold, and sapphire treasures anyone could ask for.

    Tell us a bit about you and why you love jewelry.

    I’ve been pretty obsessed with jewelry since I was little - it's hereditary. As a kid, I was always digging through my mom’s jewelry box (just like she did with my grandma's collection in the 60s and 70s). There was one ring my mom loved in particular – a 14kt gold amethyst ring. She would always sneak it out of the box and then have to put it back when my grandma noticed.  

    When my grandma passed away, my mom inherited her favorite ring. She never wore it though since it didn't quite fit her grown-up hands and she lost her love of yellow gold. Here’s where the hereditary jewel obsession comes in – I fell in love with that same ring when I found it in her jewelry box as a kid. Of course, she told me to leave it alone just like her mom did.  

    Then, for my high school graduation, my mom gave me the ring. I wore it all through college – pretty much never taking it off, even for rowing team practice (and a lot of other activities I shouldn’t have done with that ring on).

    Back then, I didn’t know the difference between plated gold, solid gold, or gold-filled jewelry, but once I was out of college and making money for the first time, I educated myself – I learned about the investment value of fine jewelry.

    It’s funny, I’ve always loved jewelry and shiny things, but other than that, I’m not really into style and fashion – it's just jewelry all the way.

    How did you find Gem Breakfast?

    I met Cat at one of her first pop-ups on Fillmore street in San Francisco. It was in a cool loft space near where I lived. As a kid from the Midwest who had only known big box jewelry stores (where everything looks the same), I was stunned by these rings - they were like nothing I’d ever seen.

    amethyst gold ring

    The infamous amethyst ring

    She had a bunch of rings from Emily Gill that day - incredibly special one-of-a-kind designs with Emily’s signature antique details and hand-applied enamel. Cat and that pop-up were my first intro into fine jewelry.


    What was your first piece from GB and why do you love it?

    I bought it at that first pop-up! It's an Emily Gill salt and pepper rose cut diamond ring with grey enamel and three little diamonds on each side. It's a super unique rich, dark grey diamond with some amazing inclusions. I’d never seen enamel done like that and when Cat described the process and artistry behind it (and how easy it is to mess up and ruins thousands of dollars of material), I was even more impressed.  

    It looks like something out of the past - antiquated but modern at the same time. I love that it's nothing like most rings.

    That was the most money I’d ever spent on a piece of jewelry. I bought it because I loved it and I’d just started my career in Finance – it was my first big girl jewelry purchase.

    I was never willing to spend money on materials things like shoes and clothes knowing how easily they can get ruined and lose their value. Jewelry is expensive but if well taken care of, it will last for a very long time and retain its value.

    WHAT'S Your favorite GEM BREAKFAST piece?

    I don’t have one favorite ring but my most-worn pieces are in my 5-ring Gem Breakfast stack which includes:

    I bought them all in the middle of COVID when I was working from home at my parents’ house and couldn’t do anything. I originally bought them for my right hand but now I wear them all on my left ring finger and whenever people ask about it, I say it’s for myself because I’m my own support person.

    Any stacking tips?

    Mix up the textures! In my stack, I have an engraved ring for detail, diamonds to break up the gold, a rope band for texture, a simple smooth band to create space between the textures, and the three-stone colored diamond band as the pinnacle - it usually sits at the top of the setting.


    tell us about each piece in your GB Collection and the story behind it


    An Emily Gill rose cut salt and pepper diamond ring with grey enamel in yellow gold. My first fine jewelry purchase – I bought it at Cat’s pop-up event in San Francisco.

    marquis salt and pepper diamond ring with black enamel halo

    An Emily Gill salt and pepper marquise diamond with a black enamel halo in rose gold. It's the most unique ring in my collection and was my first purchase over $2k


    A light blue-teal Montana sapphire with an amazing double diamond halo – I call it my ballerina ring. This one was very out of character for me because I’m not usually into dainty and pretty designs but I love it. Also, I’m a value hunter, so when it went on sale I couldn’t resist. It’s the sparkliest ring I own – unreal in the sun.

    I bought it during the first summer of COVID – you couldn’t go anywhere or do anything so jewelry was my joy in life.

    blue sapphire ring with milgrain and round accent diamonds emily gill

    Another Emily Gill ring that was somehow on sale for 25% off – it was spring of 2019 and Cat and Emily did a live sale together and for some reason this ring hadn’t sold (I don’t know how because it’s amazing). It’s a blue sapphire ring with milgrain, and her signature round diamonds on each side. The sapphire itself is blue with a yellow section in the center. I went to UC Berkeley (whose colors are blue and yellow) so it’s fun to see those colors together in a ring. I bought this shortly after moving out on my own for the first time.

    gold and diamond band

    A thick gold band with seven inset diamonds.

    salt and pepper rose cut diamond ring with white diamond band

    An almost black salt and pepper rose cut cushion cut diamond in rose gold with white diamonds along the band.

    purple spinel ring in rose gold

    A purple spinel ring in rose gold by Kim Drosdick. I wear this second most often. Kim said she was inspired by one of the machines in Star Wars – it has a bezel setting plus 6 little prongs so it does look very spacey. Another purchase that helped get me through COVID!


    A rose gold tiara band which I wear with my purple spinel ring – they look great together.

    three stone fancy colored diamond band

    My most recent purchase was the 5-ring stack. I tried to have some discipline and space out the purchases but I couldn’t stop myself. Another COVID pick-me-up!

    salt and pepper rose cut diamond ring in rose gold.png

    I also bought my sister’s wedding ring from GB – it’s a rose gold oval cut salt and pepper diamond ring with white diamonds on the band. Made by Erin Hakin, it’s a stunning and completely one-of-a-kind design.

    Why do you love salt and pepper diamonds?

    It’s like looking into a galaxy – I love the different gradients of color. My s & p marquis diamond looks like a supernova, it’s stretched out like the celestial bodies you see in photos from the Hubble telescope.

    I also have an aversion to basic and love the concept of celebrating imperfections and individuality.  

    What drew you to GB?

    I love that GB jewelry is completely non-traditional and not solely engagement focused. I love that they encourage people to buy their own jewelry, wear whatever they want, and absolutely wear that giant diamond on your left hand and be married to yourself!

    Cat herself is intelligent and well-spoken and makes jewelry shopping fun. Buying jewelry from typical retailers sometimes feel like buying a used car – there’s a level of information asymmetry that can make people feel really uncomfortable. Cat and GB, on the other hand, are very transparent and approachable.

    I’m also really inspired by Cat’s story of quitting corporate America and starting her own brand. She did it herself for a while and now she’s added many amazing women to the business – both Designers and women she directly employs. As someone who would love to be an entrepreneur but isn’t sure I have the ovaries for it, I’m constantly impressed by her badassery.

    gold bracelet stack

    What jewels do you wear on the daily?

    I wear a pear diamond necklace – 16 inches long, it sits close to the collarbone area. That was my first big girl white diamond purchase years ago.

    I have a lot of piercings in my ears - I usually wear some combination of gold and diamonds with a boulder diamond or two in my conch and helix.

    On my fingers, I usually wear my 5-ring stack and my blue sapphire ring from Emily Gill. I also wear my dad's wedding band from his first marriage on my thumb and a carerra y carerra ring on my middle finger.

    On my wrists, I wear a Crucian Hook bracelet – it’s a simple band with a horseshoe clasp – when the horseshoe is facing inwards towards the heart, it means your heart is taken and an open-facing horseshoe means you’re looking for love. My sister, my mom, and I all have one.

    Then, inspired by Cat, I wear a Rokosz panther bracelet with a black diamond spine that I had specially made. That was my “I passed the CFA” gift to myself. And I wear an 18kt carat gold curb bracelet which was my first hefty gold purchase.

    What's your Jewelry motto?

    Be anything but basic. (Can we get an amen?)

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