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The mystical, magical joy of coloured gemstones

From her salon on Nantucket Island, jewellery designer Katherine Jetter paints a compelling picture for the celebration of the bright and the beautiful

June 2, 2021 By Katherine Jetter

I have always been drawn to colour; magical sunsets on Nantucket, my daughter’s stuffed animal unicorns scattered around our home, unique colourful gemstones. These are some of the bright things that bring me joy, and I also try to evoke this feeling in my work as a jewellery designer by embracing colour.


I think colour is more important than ever because people need joy, and colour brings joy. This is probably why my whole wardrobe is colourful.


I followed my dreams of working in a creative field when I launched my jewellery line in 2008 by creating a collection that focused on redefining opals. I was drawn to opals not just because these spectacular, and previously overlooked, silica-based gemstones feature an array of colour, but because they brought me back to my homeland of Australia.


Katherine Jetter, The Vault Nantucket

Katherine Jetter outside The Vault Nantucket


To build my collection, I started at the opal mines of Lightening Ridge in Australia’s New South Wales, quite literally descending into the earth to speak directly with local cutters. This would be the beginning of a love affair with coloured gemstones and the gem dealers who advocate for them.


Coloured gems each have a story to tell, beginning millennia ago, just like diamonds. They are rare and exceptional, but with a twist; a little manganese sprinkled in to create a spinel, some chromium to bring out the vibrant green of an emerald.


In my career, I have been drawn to colourful gemstones more than diamonds because it is what I find visually exciting. I’m an artist, and using gems is like painting. Through my career, I have met incredible women who also approach jewellery with a reverence normally reserved for fine art, and I’m always delighted to share my knowledge.


Katherine Jetter opal ring

Katerine Jetter 18ct gold and opal ring, price on application, enquire at Katherine Jetter 


My store, The Vault on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, is a welcoming environment that fosters my love for curation and styling, and is intended as a launch pad for the stories of gemstones.


Gem education is a pillar of The Vault, which I opened in the summer of 2017. However, I can educate and present to my hearts’ desire but when it comes time for a client to make a decision on which jewel to make their own, I always tell people to go with the ‘love factor’. What are you drawn to? What speaks to you in a way that transcends words?


Gemstones can feel mystical because they are. They have magical beginnings and speak to us in their own way. Gemstones are the real showstoppers in any jewellery design. I’m just honoured to be the artist in the background pulling it all together.


Katherine Jetter, The Vault Nantucket

Katherine Jetter sketches out a design for an opal pendant



Katherine Jetter is a jewellery designer and gemstone expert, and owner of The Vault jewellery store on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts 






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