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About the Founder

While growing up I always have enjoyed nature. My first memory of the outdoors was soon after my family moved down to Florida in 1977. I was three and a half years old and I started fishing with my mom off the dock in our backyard. I don’t think we caught very much but this began my intense love affair with the water and ultimately the ocean. By the age of thirteen, I had become an avid surfer, SCUBA diver and fisherman. My fondest memories as a young teenager are my family’s trips over to the Abaco islands in the Bahamas where I could enjoy my passion for the ocean to the fullest. My travels from this point on always involved the water and excursions into nature in places like Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago just to name a few. These trips to the islands gave me a deep appreciation of nature and fond memories will last me for a lifetime.

After graduating from the University of Florida in 1996 I packed my bags and drove across the country to attend the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica California. While in California, I was able to learn all about diamonds and precious gemstones and experience some of the best surfing spots in California and on the Baja peninsula. After completing my degree in Gemology, I was fortunate enough to be employed by one of the best jewelry companies in America, Ben Bridge Jeweler (now owned by Berkshire Hathaway), for a little over a year. In May of 1997, I decided to make my way back to Florida and the warm Atlantic to join my parents, Jim and Ann Marie Dunn, and my uncle, Robert Pelliccia, in our family’s jewelry business in Lighthouse Point Florida.

After growing up around the jewelry business my whole life, I started to feel in the middle of 2008 that I could combine my love for nature and my experience in fine jewelry to truly make a meaningful difference in our industry as a whole. I got the inspiration for Precious Earth from the first moment that I saw a Namibian diamond and I learned about the concept of beneficiation that was behind it. It seemed logical that people of countries that hold such rich natural resources (like diamonds in Namibia and Botswana) should be the main beneficiaries of that resource. Then I started thinking if you start designing jewelry with a diamond that is "socially responsible", what about the metal? That's what led me to search out Hoover and Strong and utilize their brand of recycled precious metals called Harmony. The next challenge was to figure out a way that would tell the magical story of the Namibian diamonds in a manner that would capture the imagination, take jewelry lovers on a journey and make people feel great about owning a piece of Precious Earth Jewelry. This is where the concept of the "Endangered Species" collection was born. By showing jewelry designs inspired by the endangered animals of Africa, jewelers can begin telling a logical story about the Namibian diamonds that are featured this collection. We hope this will ultimately raise awareness for beneficiated diamonds and recycled metals and help bring about positive change in the jewelry industry as a whole.