Laura Phillis - lapidarist


I'm Laura, an Adelaide-based, professionally trained lapidarist and my passion is gemstones and minerals. I am the founder of Tatum Gems, and my aim is to share my uniquely cut and designed gemstones with you, while passionately inspiring and educating the industry about gemstones.

After working and learning in the jewellery industry since 2010, I began cutting gemstones in 2014 and was trained under master cutter Scott Langford in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. During my training I worked on a lot of repair work and custom cutting including faceting, cabbing, inlay jewellery, and all other combinations you can think of. Learning to do this kind of work gave me a really broad skillset, and it taught me to be adaptable with all kinds of gemstone materials.

As my skills grew, my love for gem cutting became more about challenging myself and designing unique cuts. In November 2014 I designed my first unique cut which was an octagonal shape that I named the Lataphilly Octavia Cut. From the moment I started designing this unique cut I knew that my passion for cutting unique gems had only just begun and I looked forward to designing many more unique cuts in the future.  

A lot of my inspiration for design comes from nature itself and the crystallography of each individual gemstone, and I often enjoy following the natural shape of the rough to guide the design. All of my designs are cut free hand or on the fly and not with the use of GemCad or computer software, and rarely from diagrams in books. Most standard shapes that I cut such as round brilliant, emerald cut, radiant cut etc, are in grained in my memory from repetition during my early training.

I graduated as a qualified Gemmologist and diamond grader through the Gemmological Association of Australia in 2014 and began lecturing for the GAA in 2015. I have been involved with both state and federal committees since 2016. I really enjoy teaching and learning about gemmology in my spare time as it helps further my own education and skills as a gemmologist and gem cutter.

Tatum Gems isn’t just about selling gems, I want to share with you my passion and curiosity for gemstones and to help make a difference to my industry by encouraging people to get involved and be inspired. If you’d like to learn more about gemstones or see what projects I'm currently working on, you can follow Tatum Gems on Instagram or Facebook by clicking the links below.