Three words describe precious gemstones and Mona Lee Nesseth: elegant, exquisite and exceptional. When Nesseth walks into a room, she is elegant. The jewelry she wears is exquisite and of exceptional quality.
Nesseth’s greatest joy, however, is not rooted in a quest for jewelry and gems for her personal collection. What she delights in is a world-wide and world-class search to “bejewel” others as a “secret jeweler.” Her realm of expertise spans historic royal jewels to individual gems set in magnificent custom designs.
Throughout history, royalty appointed jewelers of the highest standard to satisfy their desire for exquisite jewels—emblems of privilege, power and strength. These jewelers operated among the top echelon. Likewise, Nesseth serves as a private jeweler to an exclusive clientele, accessible via referral and appointment only. As a connoisseur of the finest jewels, Nesseth deals in gems of rare size and quality, specializing in colored diamonds. Many jewelry connoisseurs and collectors consider Nesseth to be the “curator” of their personal collections.
A 1980 graduate of CSULB, Nesseth first dreamed of running the DeLorean Motor Company upon finishing school. Her father, at that time business partner to John DeLorean, dashed that notion with his edict that women did not have a place in the automobile industry. She then decided to follow her passion for jewelry. After earning her marketing degree, Nesseth went on to the Gemological Institute of America where she earned the gem and jewelry profession’s prestigious graduate gemologist credential in 1981 and jewelry design credential in 1987. She began her professional career in Beverly Hills as gemologist and personal assistant to Frances Klein, a founding merchant on Rodeo Drive and an internationally recognized historical jewelry expert. By the late ’80s, Nesseth was working by referral and appointment only.
While at CSULB in the late ’70s—advised by then Student Activities Coordinator Doug Robinson—Nesseth orchestrated fashion shows in conjunction with selling commercial ad space for the Daily 49er and other campus publications. Her well-honed abilities to sell, conceive and organize fundraising efforts and to develop enduring relationships with others serve Nesseth well in her profession. Her involvement with charitable events, such as the “Bejeweled Auction” in 2007 and Oceana’s Sea Change Summer Party in 2009, raised more than $100,000 and $300,000, respectively.
Nesseth’s personal jewels and those of her private clients often appear in museum exhibits. Currently, she is a contributor to the “All That Glitters: The Splendor and Science of Gems and Minerals” exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Natural History, a show that will remain on display through 2012.
Nesseth often travels to private viewings of significant jewels. A career highlight was a private dinner party with eight of her guests alongside the Hope Diamond in the Harry Winston Hall of Gems at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. She regularly represents the interests of her clients’ at high profile estate auctions and accesses select jewels from primary sources.
This alumna radiates the warmth and grace of someone with the wisdom to play from her strengths while sharing her talents where they make the greatest impact. Nesseth extends beauty through her acquisitions and creations and she brings good fortune to those within her broad sphere of influence. Just like precious gemstones, Nesseth’s clients dazzle in her elegant, exquisite and exceptional jewelry.