Our Story 

Like the unique watermelon tourmaline that inspired our name, EF Watermelon is truly a rare jewel.

In 1979, James Elliot and Richard Freeman began EF Watermelon as gem dealers traveling the world to uncover the finest crystals that would later be cut into gemstones and sold to jewelers across the United States. They served as founding members of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) in 1981, established to promote the long term stability and integrity of the natural colored gemstone and cultured pearl industries. In 1982, they joined fellow AGTA members at the first AGTA GemFair in Tucson, Arizona, now considered the world's most important annual marketplace for natural colored gemstones, cultured pearls and designer jewelry. 

In 1985, James and Richard opened their first gallery in Old Lyme, CT. They began building their own signature collection with designer Janet Vitkavage to be featured alongside work from their acclaimed peers like Paula Crevoshay, Nicolai Medvedev, Susan Allen and Michael Christie. The gallery gave them the opportunity to showcase these remarkable gems, minerals and jewels they had encountered throughout their travels in one, beautiful gallery space.   

They have curated shows with major institutions both nationally and internationally including Takashimaya Japan, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and The Houston Museum of Natural Science.

In 2002, they partnered with North American Emerald Mines to advance extraction operations from its mine located in Hiddenite, North Carolina. This mine is home to the finest emeralds ever to be discovered on U.S. soil, some of which currently reside in the most prestigious museum collections in the country. 

After more than 35 years in business, the mission of EF Watermelon remains unchanged: 
To present the finest and most extraordinary pieces of custom jewelry, antique and estate jewelry, gemstones and objets d’art.