Elaine Ruddie, Head of Marketing at Gem-A

Based in the historic Ely Place, Gem-A is a worldwide name in the jewellery education space. Elaine loves their Hatton Garden location! 

What does Gem-A do?

Gem-A is the longest-serving provider of gemmological education in the world. We created the first formal gemmology training course and can trace our lineage back to 1908. Since those early days, we have taught thousands of students on our core courses: Gemmology Foundation, Gemmology Diploma and Diamond Diploma.

What is your role at Gem-A and what does it entail? 

I head up the marketing team at Gem-A. Our course is taught in five languages and 18 countries worldwide via two methods: online and face-to-face tuition through our Accredited Teaching Centres (such as universities and jewellery schools). The job is varied and we cover events, publications, digital marketing, communications, branding and more. I also represent Gem-A at various events worldwide. The best thing about my job is working with people. Everyone in this industry is passionate about gemstones; from world experts to students that are learning gemmology for the first time. 

Where are you based in Hatton Garden, and how long have you been here? 

Gem-A are based in Ely Place, a unique street in Hatton Garden that has its own gatehouse. We bought the building in 2013, but even before that our headquarters were based in this area. Back in 1910 we occupied the building directly opposite us!

What sets your business apart from other businesses in the industry?

Our courses are known for their scientific rigour. Learning the theory is vital, but we also want students to master the practical skills. Gem-A courses teach students how to use specialist equipment and analyse gemstones using a hands-on approach.

What has been your proudest moment since working at Gem-A?

The Gem-A Conference is always a proud moment. I organise every aspect of the event from venue to speakers, sponsors and additional workshops and trips. It’s a lot of work but very rewarding to see the community come together and exchange knowledge. The next Gem-A Conference, taking place on 2 and 3 November, will be my 6th conference with Gem-A. The challenge is trying to make each year better than the one before it. 

What’s your favourite thing about working in Hatton Garden?

I love the history in Hatton Garden, but I also love the hidden treasures. There are store fronts that I never tire of looking in - such as Berganza - , but it’s also fascinating to think of all the workshops that are hidden away from sight.

Have you (or any friends or family) made a jewellery purchase in Hatton? What did you get, and what was the occasion? 

My favourite jeweller in Hatton Garden is Tessa Metcalfe. She is a self-taught jeweller who specialises in jewellery cast from pigeon feet. It might sound strange, but her work is incredible and she tends to work with interesting and unusual gemstones. I have bought myself a few gifts from Tessa, but my biggest purchase was commissioning a tie pin to give to my husband as a wedding gift. I sourced a beautiful sapphire from Hatton Garden gemstone dealer, Marcus McCallum, and Tessa created an exceptional piece.

Where’s your favourite place to get a coffee in Hatton?

There is a lot of coffee in Hatton Garden! I haven't tried nearly enough of them, but I do like Dartbrooke coffee for grab and go (the brownies are dangerous!). If I’m sitting in or having an informal meeting I like the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs.

 Where’s your favourite place to get lunch in Hatton? 

If it’s a quick lunch to take back to the office, it has to be the buffet bar on the corner of Greville St and Kirby St. I crave their jacket potatoes, and the staff are great fun. If I’m meeting a friend or having a business lunch I tend to go next door to the Bleeding Heart Bistro – I have the risotto every time,  which makes me sound terribly boring but it’s always fantastic.

Where’s your favourite place to get a drink in Hatton? 

We are spoiled for choice in Hatton Garden, but when we have international clients or Members visiting our offices, we always take them to Ye Old Mitre. It’s directly off Ely Place, very close to our office, and everyone loves the history. 

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