The fascination with gems and minerals began at an early age. Jeff White grew up in mineral-rich east-central Alabama, where gems of various types could literally be found lying in plain view.
"One day while playing near my home, I found some small rocks with very peculiar shapes. I later learned that these 'rocks' were actually crystals, and I was fascinated by the many shapes and colors that they could assume. I began researching mineral locations and spent many hours looking for specimens. To this day I retain pieces from that early collection: schorl tourmaline, aquamarine, yellow beryl, garnet schist, and bright sapphire-blue kyanite, among others. These could all be found within minutes of my home. From that point on, I was hooked. "
"As it turned out, someone in our small community learned of my fascination with gems and minerals and gave me an opportunity that would change me forever. A wonderful older gentleman and friend of the family happened to be a faceter. As he was getting older and no longer able to cut, he asked if I would be interested in purchasing his equipment. It was a substantial collection, including a precision faceting machine, all the needed accessories to get started cutting, and various other pieces of equipment that would soon prove useful to a budding rock hound. I jumped at the chance and began teaching myself to facet at the age of 14. I have been an avid cutter since that time."
After high school, Jeff went on to graduate from The University of Alabama with a degree in chemical engineering but retained a passion for gems and faceting. In 2001, www.whitesgems.com was registered and launched. The rest, as they say, is history!
Jeff is now an internationally-recognized gem cutter with two decades of experience. His work has been featured in leading industry publications such as Jewelry Business Magazine, The Journal of Gemmology, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, and Prism (the magazine of the American Gem Trade Association), as well gem buying guides by noted author Renee Newman. Jeff is a certified Grand Master of the United States Faceters Guild and has won or placed in various national and international gem cutting competitions, including a first-place finish in the Faceting Division of the 2011 AGTA Cutting Edge Awards. As part of the AGTA Spectrum Awards, this is considered by many to be one of North America's highest honors in gem cutting.
Jeff has also previously served on the Board of Directors of the United States Faceters Guild