About Mochi’s Gifts
My jewelry features natural gemstones with sterling silver, gold-filled, or gold vermeil accent beads, clasps, and ear wires. I purchase my gemstone beads in person (not over the internet) to be sure I like the quality and color.
What makes my pieces unusual is that I seek out and use a much wider variety of natural stones than are commonly seen in jewelry. While I do create pieces with frequently seen gems such as lapis and amethyst, my specialty is the use of minerals that are less commonly used in jewelry, such as kyanite, amazonite, and rhodonite. Many of my pieces also incorporate beautiful fossils. In addition, my work makes much use of different shapes and textures. Not surprisingly, many of my pieces are one of a kind. I’ve been doing art fairs in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2003.
About Johanna, or, How to play with rocks when you’re an adult!
Like most children, I had a collection of rocks – mostly unidentifiable but pretty – that were special to me. Unlike most children, my love of rocks and minerals grew as I became an adult. The interest in rocks turned into curiosity about their make up, which led me to serious study and eventually a B.S. in Earth Sciences.
Since playing with pretty rocks didn’t seem like a realistic career path, I chose to do graduate studies in the field of Geotechnical Engineering and received a Masters degree from UC Berkeley in that field. This in turn led me to a career putting my education to work studying and planning for geologic hazards, including earthquakes and volcanoes. Meanwhile, my pretty rock collection continued to grow and I started to make jewelry for myself and friends. I realized that my study of minerals gave me a unique perspective on stones in the form of gems suitable for jewelry, and I started down the path of making and selling pieces myself. I started my business, Mochi’s Gifts, in January, 2003.
I decided I wanted to learn more about the beautiful gems I was working with so I returned to school to learn Gemology. I completed the education and lab work required to earn my Graduate Gemologist diploma through the Gemological Institute of America in July of 2014.
As my business has grown, I have branched out into gem & mineral shows as well as art fairs. At the gem & mineral events, I carry a selection of loose gemstones and interesting gift items such as gemstone candle holders, dishes, and boxes.
Gemological Institute of America, Carlsbad, CA
July, 2014: Graduate Gemologist
May, 2014: Accredited Jewelry Professional
Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, San Francisco, CA
February, 2011: Jewelry Technician
University of California, Berkeley, CA
December, 1993: Master of Science, Geotechnical Engineering
University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA
May, 1992: Bachelor of Science, Earth Sciences
I am often asked about the name of the business (or “who’s Mochi?”). Mochi was a cat I adopted from the East Bay SPCA. She was a siamese/tabby cross, only 7 lbs, and polydactyl (lots of toes). When I first got her she was very shy. She wouldn’t stay with me at night, but each morning I’d wake to find one of her toy mice either on the end of the bed or on the floor next to the bed. Once she realized she actually ruled the house, Mochi’s “gifts” ceased to arrive and she took over the bed (who knew a 7 lb cat could take up so much room?). She then proceeded to “help” me make jewelry until 2011.