With over 30 years of experience, Patti Geolat, is the founder and CEO of Geolat Companies and is a widely known authority on the appraisal, brokerage and sale of fine jewelry. Here’s a closer look at how she got to where she is today!
Who or what piqued your initial interest in the gem and appraisal industry?
Since I was a kid and there were mail order catalogs coming to our house, I can remember going straight to the jewelry pages and looking at the pictures and descriptions. After a few months, I started to cover the descriptions and tried to guess the gemstones and how the jewelry would be described.
My passion continued into high school, where I started in a typical retail mall store. In college, while working on my Masters Degree, I took the course work to become a Graduate Gemologist with the GIA. I completed the training in record time, but my record has since been broken.
Geolat is a company that offers appraisals, purchasing, and selling. Did it start out as including all three of these services or did they evolve as part of the business over time?
When I started out after college, I moved myself to Texas and knew I wanted to remain in the business, but that I did not want to be an employee and did not have resources to start a store myself. So, I opened a business appraising jewelry. Geolat and Associates was incorporated in 1985 and started out as an independent appraisal firm focusing on just jewelry in the beginning. Later, I teamed up with an art dealer and expanded the business to include fine art and then added furniture, decorative arts, and antiques. We eventually even enhanced the practice to include litigation support, estates, wills, bankruptcy, expert witness testimony.
In the meantime, I continued my education, becoming a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, a certified Senior Member of the American Society of Appraisers, and a Certified Appraiser of Personal Property with International Society of Appraisers specializing in Antique and Period Jewelry.
Next, I was tapped by Jewelers Mutual to serve on their Board of Directors and later also the chairman of the Board. I was the youngest person and first woman on their board and also the youngest person and first female to be their chairman. During my time with Jewelers Mutual, I took three years of course work with Insurance Institute of America and earned a designation in Risk Management. This has given me great insight into the operations of the insurance industry and has proven valuable in working with clients who need assistance with asset management.
After my time with Jewelers Mutual, I knew I wanted to work with pre- owned jewelry, so I launched the hybrid trunk shows that we are still doing today. I believe that we are the only company that does trunk shows where we both buy and sell pre-owned jewelry at the same event. People associate it with a new and fun way of recycling their jewelry and respond well to the concept.
Since I do not do trunk shows every week and I do not have a store front, I looked for ways to promote the jewelry sales in between shows. My research led me to 1st Dibs. That is how I got to where we are now.
Describe your overall experience in the appraisal industry in just three words.
Expanding life’s experience.
You’re known as the “go-to appraiser” in Dallas, as well as nationally. Tell me a little bit about how you got such a prestigious title?
Locally: It is my willingness to go out and meet with stores’ owners and employees, being active in the community, giving back, and sharing my knowledge freely with others.
Nationally: It is an active participation with appraisal groups, trade associations, exhibits, and serving on boards.
Giving first without expecting something in return. That last one is really for my life’s journey, not just this question.