In June 2013 after 16 years, Gems of Africa officially closed their Atlanta retail gallery location and are exclusively doing business online.
Bob and Wallene Jones began their explorations to Africa over 30 years ago, returning each time with suitcases full of treasures they bought along the way. In 1981 after many requests from friends and family to bring them items back, they took a leap of faith and went into business selling African art and were one of the first to do so in the New York area.
Initially they started selling batiks, sisal bags and Kisii stone sculptures at festivals, home shows and fundraisers. Than they started branching out, travelling across sub-Saharan Africa and as a result, their range of merchandise expanded dramatically. Not only did their range expand, but so did their business.
In 1991, their son Keith Washington became a partner in the business and as a result, added a fresh new perspective to the buying process. They each bought what they liked, but since they had different tastes, they would end up choosing very different pieces. Based on the success they had in New York, in 1997 they decided to open Gems of Africa Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia and have never looked back. Bob is no longer with them, but the gallery lives on today in his memory.
The staff at the Gems of Africa Gallery is dedicated to presenting you the best contemporary African Art you can buy. To ensure the quality of their merchandise and to keep abreast of new artists and artifacts available, they travel to Africa every year for a buying trip. They spend eight hours a day hand picking each and every item for the gallery searching for the most unique pieces. They feature original paintings, Shona sculptures, Tribal masks, South African pottery, Ngwenya Glass and many other items which are all hand crafted in Africa. Although they carry art from many countries in Africa, they specialize in original art and sculpture from South Africa and Zimbabwe.