We began our career in the Colored Gemstone business in 1981 when we started our first company Watt Gems, from our dining room table in Hollywood, Ca. Simon had come from the accountancy profession in England and Laurie was manager of the American office of the German cutter Hans Dieter Haag of Idar Oberstein. Neither of us had any family background or formal training in the gem business but we soon found that both of us shared a passion for colored gemstones and we have turned that shared passion in to a lifelong career. We opened our first office in 1983 on Beverly Drive and remained in Beverly Hills until 1993. During that time we maintained very close relationships with the cutting community in Idar Oberstein and developed a reputation for dealing in fine and the most unusual gemstones available.
We both began traveling around the United States, to sell our wares, in the early eighties and have developed strong business relationships, not to mention friendships, within the manufacturing and retail jewelry community throughout the United States. In 1987 we further consolidated our ties with Idar Oberstein by forming the partnership of Mayer & Watt with a third generation cutter, August Mayer. This partnership ended in 1996 but not the friendship or the name. For more than thirty years we have developed a network of cutters and miners from every corner of the gem-producing world from whom we source our gemstones.
Early on, we developed a passion for African stones along with material from Brazil but in recent years we have made many trips also to the Far East and in particular to Sri Lanka, where we procure many unusual Sapphires, especially in some of the more unique and unusual fancy colors. Acquiring gem quality material has always been our driving force and ever since our early relationships with Idar Oberstein, we have always had a reputation for very well cut gemstones, often with unique and fancy cuts. Our gemstones have graced the Winners Circle at the AGTA’s annual Spectrum Awards countless times, since its inception in the early eighties.
Simon served on the Board of the American Gem Trade Association for nine years and held the office of Vice President for six years. In 2002 Mayer and Watt was named the Jewelry Designers Supplier of the year. Laurie is actively involved with the Women’s Jewelry Association and serves on the board of the Mid-West chapter. Simon most recently served for four years on the board of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company. Both remain actively involved in various Trade organizations, particularly the JSA.
In 2008 our son, Geoffrey, joined the company after working for one year with a high end jeweler in New York City and California. He is actively involved in all aspects of the business including sales and has developed his gemstone photography skills to a level where he is regularly published through-out the jewelry industry. His photographic skills are always on display on our newly designed website, in Photo Gallery.