Many decades ago, several family-owned boutique jewelry stores were tucked under the ground floor of apartment buildings in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. One store, Phil’s Jewelry, was run by a man named George Smith for over 30 years. It was founded on a commitment to integrity, client happiness, and the spirit of giving.
By the end of his career, George’s jewelry boutique was sending 50% of its profits to help build orphanages in Uruguay, and freshwater wells in India. With plans to retire in 2012, George trusted Baraka’s founder Jamie Jockwig with the store’s legacy. Baraka Gemstones and Jewelry (now known as Baraka Gems) opened its doors in July 2009, dedicated to continuing these traditions in our home communities and those across the world.
We believe the beauty of jewelry can be reflected back into the world, and that people matter first. Jewelry may be luxurious, but to us it is also a vehicle for positive, ethical change. The decision to buy something new or sell something old is an important and emotional one. Our small staff honors these meaningful moments with kindness, compassion, and service to others.
Baraka Gems is a safe space. We do not discriminate against couples or clients based on race, gender, sexual orientation, citizenship status, disability, or religious beliefs. We practice inclusivity and community support.
A portion of every Baraka purchase is donated to A Ring of Hope, our independent non-profit sister organization dedicated to supporting orphaned children worldwide.
To date, through the efforts of our non-profit arm, A Ring of Hope, we have assisted the construction of Baraka Orphanage in Kosele, Kenya. Upon completion, the facilities will house and feed 100 girls and 100 boys. An extra acre of land will enable the growing of crops and raising of animals.
Our donations aid with projects like building a perimeter wall around the orphanage for safety, hand welding 50 bed frames, study desks, and chairs, and providing school supplies like notebooks, pens, and pencils.
Proceeds from Baraka sales have also helped pay for two years of medical insurance for 30 children and their widowed mothers. They’ve enabled the purchase of sewing machines for local women as well as goats for inmates at the local prison and the law enforcement team that oversees them. In 2016, we helped distribute 50 toothbrush and toothpaste sets, 10 pairs of glasses, and 75 shirts to orphaned children in Kosele. For the past seven years, we’ve donated food and toys to as many as 1300 people each holiday season.
The story behind every Baraka Gems creation is personal. Each thoughtfully-crafted piece changes lives.
Hi, I'm Jamie, the owner of Baraka Gems. My pronouns are he / him. I was born near Detroit, Michigan, and grew up on the west side of the state. I have clocked a lot of hours fishing in those bayous and swimming in Lake Michigan. I went to college in Grand Rapids as a trumpet performance major, and came out the other side as a youth psychology major. During and after college, I worked for a non-profit doing international adolescent community development (my connection to Kenya). In 2009 I went back to Kenya to do AIDS education. That trip led to starting a gemstone import business, which ultimately turned into a social entrepreneurial fine jewelry store called Baraka Gems.
There are a number of things that I am passionate about and enjoy. The three things that helped me get Baraka started have been my concern for the orphans of the world, my desire to help people, and my simple fascination with beautiful rocks. The stunning inclusion structures in a natural untreated sapphire, tourmaline or demantoid garnet just captivate me. However, my lifelong favorite gemstone will always be Tanzanite, because that is what got this whole fine jewelry adventure started. Thank you to all of you who have helped to make Baraka Gems what it is today. Please let me know how we at Baraka can help you with your fine jewelry needs. Your business helps us to change the world, and we appreciate all of it!
Hi, I'm Taylor. My pronouns are she / her. I'm an illustrator from New England who happened to be a rock-hound and jewelry lover. My Grams raised me with an appreciation and love of jewelry and gemstones by sharing her personal collection with me over the years. In 2013, I entered the professional jewelry industry as an apprentice wax carver, bench jeweler, and designer for a shop on Bainbridge Island. From there I was lucky to work and train in a variety of wonderful small custom jewelry shops in Kitsap County and Seattle. I love the stories associated with antique pieces and get such a kick out of seeing what people bring into a jewelry shop; they often carry so much meaning. In school I also studied biology, so my passion for the environment keeps me gardening, tending to my plants, cats, and variety of fish. I continue to create and work as a freelance illustrator, so it's safe to say that I keep myself busy. I am thankful to be a part of the Baraka team and a story that creates beauty in the world in more ways than one.
Hello, my name is Hanna and my pronouns are she / her. I am the Digital Media Manager here at Baraka Gems, but I keep myself busy working as a photographer and designer too. I’m originally from Colorado but have spent a number of years living in Washington and appreciating all the Northwest has to offer. I picked up a camera when I was 11 years old and have had one with me ever since. Photography has been a way for me to express my creativity and I love challenging myself to look at things in a different way to constantly improve my work. Working in the jewelry industry is something new to me, though I have really enjoyed getting to learn and photograph so many incredible pieces of jewelry. When I'm not working my hobbies include spending time outdoors, painting, playing guitar and piano, and hanging out with my cat Koa.
We offer free mini engagement photo shoots with the purchase of a $5,000 or more engagement ring.
Hi there! My name is Maddy. My pronouns are she / her. I can almost always be found sporting stripes, with a potted plant in one hand and a chai tea latte in the other. The name Olive & Opal comes from my two favorite colors: olive green and white. I wanted to make something of my own that was a part of my everyday life, other than the colors I love. The part about photography that I love is how through this artistry, you get to really know a person. It is such a fun, weird, vulnerable experience — one you get to look back on in 20 years and smile. Life is meant to be lived and remembered through all the imperfect, unplanned moments and those are the times we all wish we could freeze in time and capture in a photo. I’ve fallen in love with the ability to give people an experience that they won’t forget and to serve people in such a special and meaningful way through capturing their special moments in life. You can always count on exploring the outdoors — or a local neighborhood, a lot of laughs and some loud music, so let’s get started! See more of my work on my Instagram page: Olive and Opal Photography.