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“We believe in this province and its people’

Rogerio Graca and his wife Andrea Van Wilgenburg own and operate Pristine Gemstone Jewelry from their home in Port Medway. The business specializes in in sapphire engagement rings, wholesale loose gemstones and other fine gemstone jewelry featuring precision cut gemstones. Because all of their business is online, the couple have the advantage of being able to work from home.
Rogerio Graca and his wife Andrea Van Wilgenburg own and operate Pristine Gemstone Jewelry from their home in Port Medway. The business specializes in in sapphire engagement rings, wholesale loose gemstones and other fine gemstone jewelry featuring precision cut gemstones. Because all of their business is online, the couple have the advantage of being able to work from home. - Submitted

Pristine Gems are at home on the South Shore

PORT MEDWAY - Rogerio Graca could easily work anywhere in the world, but calls Port Medway home.
“With my gem cutting expertise, I can transform a piece of rough or a poorly cut gemstone into an astonishing gem, and it is a very rewarding process,” says Graca, a professional gem cutter.
Graca and his wife, Andrea Van Wilgenburg, co-own and operate Pristine Gemstone Jewelry from their home in Port Medway.
Graca is the gem cutter (lapidary), wholesale gemstone supplier and goldsmith, while Van Wilgenburg acts as the design coordinator and consultant, provides customer service and looks after the admin and marketing. 
“We are business owners, so naturally, we wear a lot of hats,” says Graca.
Originally from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Graca moved to Canada in 1989. A Brazilian friend who had moved to Canada as a gemstone supplier to jewellers contacted Graca and asked him to come to Canada to help him. As Brazil is known for its gemstone industry, Graca said he was asked to learn the gem cutting trade, and did so there for a year before moving to Victoria, BC. Eventually, Graca’s friend returned to Brazil but he stayed behind to open his own business in Victoria.
It was while working in Victoria that he met his wife, originally from the Annapolis Valley.
“After a visit to Andrea’s home province of Nova Scotia in 2015,” says Graca, “we decided to move this way as Andrea had been feeling homesick, and I fell in love with the charm and beauty of the province.”
In 2016, the couple sold their home in Victoria and drove across the country with their three dogs to the South Shore of Nova Scotia and fell in love with the community of Port Medway.
“By good fortune, we found our dream property in Port Medway within a few days of deciding that this is where we wanted to live,” he says.
Now, Graca and Van Wilgenburg operate their gemstone business from their house, supplying some stores in Nova Scotia and across Canada and in the United States. The mainstay of their business, says Graca, is now online, selling directly to the general public. 
Because every natural gemstone is one-of-a-kind created in nature, and they all differ in exact colour, clarity, cut, carat, etc, each piece of Pristine Gemstone’s jewelry is unique. Although Graca says they often remake mount designs in which to set the individual stones, ultimately, every piece is unique. 
“We do custom work and create designs based on customer requests using our gemstones, and we also create ready-to-wear jewelry based on designs that we create. If customers want to buy loose gemstones, we certainly sell them unmounted as well,” says Graca.
Originally, 100 per cent of Pristine Gemstone Jewelry’s business used to come from supplying jewelers and providing gem cutting and repair services to them. The industry has now changed. With the popularity of online shopping growing, Graca says he moved their business in that direction.  They now have three online shops and are strictly online to the general public, partly for insurance reasons, as they work from home and are not insured to serve customers there.
Pristine Gemstones actually has five people on its team.  Graca and Van Wilgenburg work from their home, the stone setter works from his home on the South Shore while two other CAD designers and casting techs work from their respective homes outside the province.
“Our ultimate goal,” says Graca, “is to create our pieces 100 per cent in Nova Scotia, and we are working towards that. We believe in this province and its people, and we want to support business here as much as we can.”
Graca says the best part about doing business on the South shore is the community in which he lives. He says people have welcomed them with open arms, and they already have a wonderful circle of new and old friends here.   
“This area of the South Shore has a population from diverse backgrounds, and they have formed a wonderful and involved community,” he says, noting how it was a good move and an easy move.
“I could not be happier and more grateful to be living in such a beautiful place.”

Learn more about Pristine Gems at
www.pristinegemstonejewelry.com
www.etsy.com/shop/pristinegemstones
www.etsy.com/shop/pristinejewelry

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