Sapphire mining in Mogok, Myanmar 2019
The seed for the Rockstoc LLC brand was planted over a decade before its emergence as the corporation it is today, when founder Yvonne Jiew’s passion for gemstone rough and lapidary work became intertwined with the stories of the people and places from which the world’s most spectacular colored gems emerge.
From Australia to the US
In October of 2005, Yvonne launched The Rock and Mineral Store in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. The store served as an online supply house of mineral specimens and gem rough for wholesalers, while also ensuring ample material for Yvonne’s own creations. As the young company’s growth exploded, Yvonne realized she would need to travel directly to the source to command competitive prices for resale.
Excursions throughout Australia for opal, pearls, and chrysoprase rapidly evolved into buying trips around the world on a quest for new materials. From north of the Artic Circle to New Zealand, and from New Zealand to the Pacific, Southeast Asia, and Africa - Yvonne soon found the bulk of her time devoted to treks to source fine colored gems - and falling in love with the locales that she visited in her journeys.
Govind talking to miners in Myanmar
The way the people of these places saw life captured her heart, and particularly the artisanal miners in Burma. To them, mining for colored gems wasn’t simply a commercial exchange of goods – it was a legacy composed of small family enterprises that spanned generations. These artisanal miners offered much more than the beautiful specimens they mined from the earth – they provided a glimpse into a worldview steeped in tradition and reverence for the art.
Yvonne became committed to ensuring their recognition as a pivotal role-player in each gem’s path, and to the fair compensation of artisanal miners for the integral part they play.
By the fall of 2016, The Rock and Mineral store was evolving from its primary focus on providing lapidary material and gem rough into a boutique mine-to-market sourcer for rare high-quality colored stones - particularly fine unheated Burmese rubies and sapphires. In search of a more centralized home base, Yvonne and her family packed their bags and landed in Queens, New York.
Our Booth at the 2020 Atlanta Jewelry Show
Rockstoc LLC was established shortly thereafter in January of 2017, and expanded its offerings to American wholesalers and designers in search of unique, exceptional colored stones. In March of 2020, the company relocated to Austin, Texas, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Rockstoc presents a marriage of the two realms, still firmly established in its roots but now also recognized as a leader in mine-to-market sourcing of precious colored stones for jewelers and designers around the world. Yvonne scours global markets for the gemstones that are the soul of Rockstoc’s identity. From sourcing spinel, ruby, and sapphire in Burma to the South Sea pearl farms of Lombok, Indonesia – Yvonne travels to some of the world’s most recognized areas of gem production to ensure the traceability of the precious gems she hand selects.