Interview with my gemstone suppliers - Curtis Heher

09. 10. 2022

I met Curtis in person for the first time during my first trip to Tucson in 2020. Since then, I always find beautiful, unconventional treasures for my jewelry at his booth. 


Tell me please your name and where are you from?

Well, hello! My name is Curtis Heher and I am the curator behind Rare Earth Mining Company.


How did you start with gemstone business? Do you have some special education? Did you have some other job before?

My passion for gems and travel started as a young child traveling to gem shows nearby with my mother and father but my true passion ignited when I was completely exposed to this world on my first expedition in Tanzania. I majored in environmental science with a start in environmental consulting but that taste ran dull once I truly tasted the gemstone business and the thrill of the hunt.


Are you from “gemstone” business family?

I am the son of two gemstone entrepreneurs. My father started this company and shortly after my mother joined him full time to help create what it is today. An ever evolving gemstone company for the wild and unusual.


Who are mainly your clients?

My clients are those who seek to show the world what stone jewelry fashion is and what it could be. We understand our stones are the accent or focal point to the artist or jewelry designers personality and creativity. 


What do you like the most about your job?

There is a rush in this business unlike anything I have experienced. When you come in to seeing something so magnificent, your body rushes with energy, you can’t wait to unlock what’s inside and show the world it’s true potential. That feeling is a drug that we lust for and after everyday. To bring the next best material to market and to share that feeling with you at our booth or when you see the stone in a finished piece of jewelry.


Do you have some favorite gemstone or cut?

I strive to have the absolute best example of every 300 different varieties of gemstones we carry. When it’s the pinnacle of the genre of material it is my favorite. To pick one stone would be boring! Let me show you a booth full of magnificent gems and I’ll watch your eyes light up when you pick a tray. That’s my favorite.


Do you remember the most interesting or expensive gemstone you have sold?

Oh a few, but one that really sticks to my mind is a giant, Natural Kingman turquoise sphere. Not so much because I sold the stone but because of how it came to be. I was walking around in Tucson and I saw a man holding a large blue sphere and just chatting with another friend. I recognized the man as Wolfgang who was a friend of my fathers. With a handshake and a word of goodluck he handed me the sphere to sell for him at my booth, which we did on the first day of the AGTA Gem fair. But it was the feeling of honor and trust that he gave me that will always stay. He gave me one of the largest hand cut Kingman Turquoise spheres on good faith. There’s old school honor in this business that I truly admire and love.


What are your source of raw gemstone? Do you have a long term cooperation?

We source materials from all over the world. In my 15 year career we have stayed with families in India, Brazil, Africa, Hong Kong, all over the US and Germany. Our material rarely comes with a mine site, we work with local artisanal miners and families with geologic backrounds in small pockets of the world. The stones we bring to you are truly the rarest pieces of earth.


What made you happy recently?

My children, they will sneak down in to my office and start picking through trays for there collection. Then I’ll make a roar and they will scamper back upstairs just to do it all again. They give me gray hairs but man they are a lot of fun!  


Is there something more you would like to tell us?

My father taught me how to fish. Now I dont mean that literally, I’m the worst fisherman there ever was, but, it’s from the saying, “give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day, but teach him how to fish and he’ll never go hungry again.” My father taught me what to look for in a stone. He taught me how to provide for my family. Bill Heher was my father, and he taught me how to fish. I hope to one day teach my children how to fish.