“Good design has a broad sensual appeal. It is aesthetically balanced, interesting to touch, yet comfortable. It has a conceptual component that transcends function such as an allusion to movement that suggests time and space.”
Living and working in Chicago, Ms. Thompson’s design vocabulary is influenced by the modern architecture and complex urban fabric of her environment. The structural steel of the Elevated train and the pure forms of Chicago’s early Modern skyscrapers are translated into the platinum posts and clean planes of her City Rhythms and Time + Space collections. Ms. Thompson has won numerous awards for her innovative use of precious colored gemstones and metals. She has earned the prestigious Spectrum Award three times and the American Vision Award twice. She has also received accolades from World Gold Council and Platinum Guild International. In 2000 she was awarded First Prize in the American Jewelry Design Council’s New Talent Competition, an award that launched her into the national spotlight.
A Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the trade, Ms. Thompson’s extensive background in appraisal and auction consulting has given her a sophisticated understanding of what produces enduring value over time.
Ellie Thompson, a native of New England, earned her degree as a graduate gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA). She later studied Valuation Science with the American Society of Appraisers focusing on personal property appraisal with a concentration in jewelry, earning the Master Gemologist Appraiser designation. In 1991, she founded The Chicago Gem Lab, Inc., an independent gemological testing laboratory and fine jewelry appraisal firm. The firm quickly grew to be the largest independent jewelry appraisal company in the midwest, serving consumers and trade, as well as trust and estate professionals and government agencies. Ms. Thompson worked as a consultant to Leslie Hindman Auctioneers as the Jewelry Specialist and department appraiser presenting four fine jewelry auctions annually. Her other consultancies include auction houses Sotheby’s and Butterfields.
Ms. Thompson was a frequent guest appraiser appearing on two popular television shows on the Home and Garden Television Network (HGTV), At the Auction with Leslie Hindman and The Appraisal Fair, which were viewed in more than 80 million households nationwide.
Ms. Thompson is honored to have two necklaces featured in the newly renovated Grainger Hall of Gems at The Field Museum in Chicago (see left). She also designed an exclusive bridal collection for The Field Museum, available in the museum store.