Choice loose gems and unique custom designs

Boston, Massachusetts

Buyers are raving!

This shop got multiple 5-star reviews in the past 7 days.

Announcement    I hope everyone is safe, sound and healthy as we weather this crisis!
Luckily, we have the internet to surf, shop and communicate; so please browse and enjoy the eye candy.
Looking for more jewelry? It's listed on my retail store's website, store.harperandfaye.com !
Be well,
Karen N.


Last updated on Apr 13, 2020

I hope everyone is safe, sound and healthy as we weather this crisis!
Luckily, we have the internet to surf, shop and communicate; so please browse and enjoy the eye candy.
Looking for more jewelry? It's listed on my retail store's website, store.harperandfaye.com !
Be well,
Karen N.



All Items

Karen Nottonson

Contact shop owner

Karen Nottonson


Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
See reviews that mention:
Quality 20 Shipping 16 Customer service 44


"I just received some beautiful new Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline in hard to find shapes and sizes! I'll be listing them all over the next few days.\nFavorite the shop to get notified when new stones are added."
Innovative custom design is the real treasure at HiddenTreasureGems, but no one gets to see it! Thought I’d share this stunning platinum band set with an heirloom diamond, with a halo of aqua blue diamonds to remind the client of Mom’s blue eyes.
New Brazilian Paraibas have been added to the shop! Sizes from tiny to 1ct., even a Paraiba tourmaline cat’s-eye.
View all 42 updates

About HiddenTreasureGems

Sales 425
On Etsy since 2015

Killer Color Gems and Jewels

Although I am an engineer/materials scientist by training (actually an M.I.T. grad and a bona fide Geek); I have loved gems and jewelry ever since I was little. In 1983 I decided to pursue my dream and go into business for myself. After getting my Graduate Gemologist Diploma; I opened a retail storefront (Harper & Faye Jewelers) in Boston (see link below), which I still own and run. I've been designing original and custom fine jewelry full-time ever since. But enough about me:

I started my Etsy store because I realized I have more stones than I can ever set, and that Etsy gives me the opportunity to reach out and meet new clients who can appreciate them and the designs I make with them. Having been open four years now, here’s what I feel makes my Etsy store special:

1) Trust. It is very important to me that someone who is even a complete newbie feel they can buy with confidence; that they are getting exactly what’s described! I have over 40 years experience, my own gemological equipment, and a known and trusted supply chain to make sure this happens. I stand behind what I sell, and am happy to answer your questions.

2) Enjoyment and education. Each item in this store was chosen for its ability to please and surprise, not just impress! Browsing the store should be fun and a voyage of discovery, introducing you to new gems and ways of using them. This is a reflection of my retail store- one client said that the store is the “third place” – there’s work, home, and “the third place” where you go to relax!

3) Accessibility. I want people to be able to buy, own, wear, enjoy, and show off the real thing rather than just clip photos off the internet! So, I look for the “Hidden Treasures” stones which are beautiful, but very reasonable for the quality offered; or stones which are lovely, affordable, but may be new to you.

4) Jewelry you can actually wear. My Boston clients are primarily women in business and the professions, who love gems but want to wear their treasures outside of the safe deposit vault. You'll find my designs answer this challenge- they use rich materials, but are approachable and simple; flattering both the gem and the wearer. I welcome custom work, too.

Karen Nottonson S.B., S.M., G.G.

Shop members

  • Karen Nottonson

    Owner, Designer, Everything Else!

Production partners

  • Jill I.

    Tucson, AZ

    Jill has collaborated with me for nearly 30 years, bringing my designs to life with her talented hands and incredible patinece. Jill specializes in hand fabricated 22K gold and enameling.

  • Award-winning metalsmith

    Boston, MA

    I've collaborated with Jim for over 10 years; he enjoys bringing his prodigious talents to bear on my sometimes tricky and puzzling designs. He is a superb, award-winning craftsman and artist, working in gold and platinum.

  • Patrick C.

    Tucson, AZ

    Patrick is a fastidious, detail-oriented goldsmith who loves making fussy little parts by hand (and they're beautiful). He is also a skilled lapidary.

Shop policies

More information

Last updated on Aug 20, 2020
Frequently asked questions
Do you offer layaway?

Yes, at my discretion (usually for high-ticket items). Please request layaway through Etsy conversations for details.

Do you do custom design?

Yes, once you have purchased a stone; I will be happy to work with you on a custom designed setting for it.

Will the stone I receive look like the photo?

I make every effort to be sure that photographs are accurate- but two things will affect how the stone looks to you:
First, each monitor and screen displays color differently, so the color on your monitor might not represent the actual color of the stone.
Second, the apparent color of many gemstones varies with the type of light (daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, LED) you are viewing it in; and some types are more flattering than others! View the stone under several light sources to see the full color range.

Do you offer certificates with your stones?

If you'd like a formal gemological laboratory report, I can obtain one from the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America) or A.G.L. (American Gemological Laboratories) on your behalf. We will charge you the actual cost plus shipping, handling and insurance. Please inquire for a price quote and estimated turnaround time; prices vary with the type of report and the size of the stone.

Early History of Paraiba Tourmaline

Paraiba tourmaline is colored an intense "Windex" blue from copper content. First discovered in Paraiba, Brazil it was introduced in the late 1980's in Tucson. I was there, and bought all I could afford! The price was considered outrageous, rising above $1000 a carat. The best of these early crystals were large, clean, and colored a deep ultramarine blue through intense green with a "glow". (Heat was used even then to bring out the blue color.) This material became so valuable that people were literally killed for it! In a few years the original mines were worked out, and supply dried up to a trickle. If one of these gems becomes available, it easily commands six figures. (I know where to find them if you want one!)

What kind of Paraiba am I selling?

Larger deposits of copper-bearing tourmaline were discovered later in Nigeria (now worked out) and Mozambique. Those from Mozambique are more plentiful than the Brazilian stone, less included, and less expensive. The color is pretty; but only rarely has the saturation and "glow" that the Brazilian tourmaline has.
So, what am I selling?
A few people kept and didn't cut the more included Brazilian rough. This is being cut now, and there is still not a lot of it. My stones are from this source; they are Brazilian, and they have inclusions- but they will be as beautiful a blue as I can find. I am trying to offer stones that will allow those who aren't millionaires to actually own a true Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline.

Paraiba Inclusions: A quick gemology lesson.

Paraiba tourmaline is a hydrothermal mineral: The crystals grew in hot liquid, leaving distinctive birthmarks in the stone: "Trichites" are hair-thin nets of cavities; "growth tubes" are hollow tubes that form along the crystal axis, fractures are splits that occur across the crystal. When the crystal changes direction growth planes are visible. Guest minerals are other minerals contained in the crystal. Many fractures "heal" themselves (partially or fully) as solution crystallize within them.
In most stones available today, these inclusions are small, but numerous. When the stone is cut, they are bisected; leaving tiny holes on the surface.
The cleaner the stone is, the more it will cost, but they all will make great jewelry.

Is Paraiba tourmaline treated?

Paraiba tourmaline has with very few exceptions always been routinely heated to improve the blue color (removing purple and gray tones); with the possible exception of highly included material due to the danger of breakage. The heat used is fairly low compared to that used for ruby and sapphire, and can not be detected, even by a gemological lab. Because of this, most labs simply say "Paraiba tourmaline may be routinely heated" to cover all bases. In general if it is that bright neon turquoise color, it can be assumed to be heated.