Billions of dollars in precious stones are unearthed each year, but the rarest never make it to the open market. That's where Don Kogen, America's most extreme gem hunter, comes in. Kogen is CEO of Gem Guys, Inc., and a legend in the business. He specializes in rare stones from the most dangerous and lawless places on earth, racing the clock to be the first to each new find, always staying one step ahead of the competition.
"The Boss." With over 20 years' experience in the gemstone and jewelry industry, Don's lifetime passion for gemstones started when he traveled to Thailand with his father, only to be abandoned on the streets of Thailand at the age of 13.
While still in his teens, Don familiarized himself with every aspect of the local gem industry, from mining and cutting to trading in the weekend gem markets (watching dealers haggle and learning to speak Thai).
During his travels in America, East Africa, Israel and India, Don was fortunate to glean a huge amount of knowledge from seasoned gemstone traders. But it wasn't until he arrived at the regional gem hub of Chanthaburi, Thailand in the 80's that his professional career seriously took off.
Frustrated by the inefficiencies of traditional gem trading, where numerous middlemen can increase the price of a gem, often by figures in excess of 1000% from mine to market, Don believes in developing businesses that give consumers the opportunity, as much as possible, to purchase direct from the primary source.
Don's passion is tracking down gemstones from around the globe. Don has been working with his team for 15 years, slowing building and developing the team to what we see now. With its head office in Houston, Texas, Don regularly travels to and from all the the team's bases.
Don Kogen Photos
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