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Profile: Patti Geolat

Dec 29, 2013 7:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Founded in 1985, Geolat Companies offers a wide range of personal property appraisal and jewelry buying services. Providing an accurate assessment of value is what we do.
patti geolat
Name: Patti Geolat
From: Texas
Company: Geolat Companies – Founder and CEO

Rapaport News: What prompted you to pursue a career in the diamond and jewelry industry?

PG: When I was in grade school, I would look through department store catalogs that arrived in the mail. Heading straight for the jewelry pages, I practiced memorizing the gemstones by their colors. In high school, I took a part time job in jewelry sales at the local mall. While in college, I started my course work with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). After earning my graduate gemologist degree and then a Fellow of Gemological Association degree, I was enamored and never looked back. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Rapaport News: What differentiates your company from others?

PG: My range of experience, education and credentials sets the Geolat Companies apart. Although I began in retail sales, I established a professional appraisal practice in 1985 and became a certified appraiser specializing in antique and period jewelry. After years of appraising gems, jewelry and objets d’art, I entered the field as a jewelry brokerage. We now have a full service buying office in Dallas and we travel the country working with independent retailers and their customers in the buying and selling of fine estate jewelry.

Rapaport News: What do you consider to be your greatest professional accomplishment?

PG: Beyond merely surviving this last recession, my greatest professional accomplishment is that the Geolat Companies are thriving throughout the ongoing re-invention of my business.

Rapaport News: What are the most notable changes you’ve observed in the jewelry industry in the past decade?

PG: The relative collapse of the distinction between market segments has been a significant change. Retailers became dealers, while dealers and manufacturers began opening retail stores. This change has created more empathy among the players and a greater ability to develop strategic partnerships.

Rapaport News: How has the estate jewelry market navigated the past few years of economic turbulence?

PG: Estate jewelry has benefitted tremendously from the economic turbulence. Record gold prices have encouraged the selling of jewelry that is no longer being worn. Now that the price is settling from its historic high, people are realizing the relative value of estate jewelry. Antique and period styles are now being reproduced and manufactured in such staples as wedding rings.

Rapaport News: What opportunities does the estate jewelry market provide the mainstream market?

PG: Buying and selling estate jewelry gives the mainstream market the opportunity to take back their legacy of cradle-to-grave service for these beautiful items. Sometime in the mid-1970s, with the expansion of the chains and department stores, some independent jewelers stopped buying pre-owned jewelry. They were given over to pawn shops and antique dealers because some customers felt more comfortable with their local jeweler. These glorious jewels were locked in the safety deposit box for the future. The future is now.

Rapaport News: What has motivated the emergence of a strong recycling market in the U.S. and other mature economies? How has it impacted the broader jewelry industry?

PG: Recycling is so pervasive now that re-sell shops are popping up in nearly every industry. The surge in recycling has been spurred on by the recession; people needed to sell their gold to pay bills. Even as we are emerging from the economic chaos, consumers are continuing to recycle what they no longer wear. When we have a show with one of our retail partners, it is common for people to sell their old jewelry in order to have cash to buy new items.

Rapaport News: What inspired you to be involved in the Women’s Jewelry Association? What are some of the challenges facing women in the industry?

PG: When I first began in the business, my boss measured her willingness to give me a raise based on the fact that I was not married, did not have kids and essentially did not “need the money.” We all need to help women gain their fair share in the economy and to realize their dreams.

Rapaport News: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the diamond and jewelry sector?

PG: It takes a lot of time, a great deal of education and years of experience. So you better love it.

Rapaport News: How do you envision your business 10 years from now?

PG: Our footprint will have expanded beyond our regional geographic boundaries, and we will be the “go to” place for consumers to sell their jewelry. This added success will come from our core philosophy of paying it forward.  

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