The Jewellery Queen


Mother, ideas-generator and lover of photography, Kim Goeller is passionate about all things exuding colour and natural beauty.

Personal service. Fine quality. Oh, and the most gorgeous gems and jewellery … which are responsibly sourced. This is a pinch of what one can expect from Kim Goeller’s private gem and jewellery service, Umbala (which means colour in Zulu and Xhosa), here in Joburg, and internationally too!

Kim sources one-of-a-kind stones and jewellery from all over the world for distinguished clients. ‘I love what I do. I’ve always been involved in creative work – from photography to bespoke shirts. I was always open to any design and artistic activities. While working in Australia, I was exposed to the pearl and opal industries and found that hugely fascinating. Shortly thereafter, I was employed at South Africa’s then largest diamond wholesale company as their marketing manager. In this role I was quickly exposed to all areas of the industry and years later I found myself in the gemstone wholesale side of the jewellery world. ‘Now, thanks to that exposure I’m designing jewellery and sourcing gems for private clients and simply can’t get enough.’

‘Stay grounded with friends, family … and diamonds from the organic underground of course’

The relaxed mother of three young children focuses a lot of her time on family but she also works tirelessly to make her business a success. ‘I’m an ideas-generator, I don’t switch off. I’m always thinking of new ideas and creative ways to make my clients’ briefs come to life.’

Kim’s a visual person… who loves colour, originality in design and the arts. The late Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa resonates strongly for her as a creator of spectacular work.

‘In the jewellery world, Neha Dani does the most exotic one-of-a-kind pieces I’ve ever seen. Although I’m not necessarily a pearl wearer, I think the Paspaley pearls are gorgeous – their brand message and design is totally unique and grand.’

For some downtime, Kim takes long runs through leafy Joburg, sees her family and tries to do small, meaningful outreach activities with her children.

On her to-do list: Travel. ‘I haven’t travelled as I did in my earlier years, so it’s time to play catch-up and revisit my my favourite haunts, India being one. Here jewellery is an iconic symbol and you see the most ornate designs, fine gems and lots of gold. A treat for the eye.’

But … back to business, Kim urges all aspiring entrepreneurs not to give up – no matter what! ‘So many people present hurdles and give you a sense that “it won’t work” when you tell them of your latest cracker business idea, and so often we stop, or second-guess ourselves at other people’s barricades.

‘All I can I say is, this is your journey and you must continue to see beyond that, push through with your idea, believe in it and gradually start with your concept, whether it’s large or small … you can do it.’

And while you chew on that food for thought, it’s time to dig out the old rings, brooches and necklaces (even sentimental pieces) from the bottom of your jewellery box and let Umbala give them a terrific makeover. To see some of the exquisite bespoke pieces, visit the Umbala Gems Instagram page … we guarantee it’s all the inspiration you’ll need to spoil a friend (or even yourself) this Women’s Month and beyond! Kim’s itching to start designing your piece.

‘I can’t wait to make your jewellery. On meeting my clients I get a sense of who they are and an understanding of the sentimental value behind the piece. It’s this that makes it easy to design something that will last a lifetime!’