Meet Our Staff
Meet Our Staff
Pala International prides itself on having the finest staff in the colored stone and mineral industry, bar none. With over a century of combined industry experience, no other company can offer you the same level of expertise.
The President of Pala International, William Larson, is one of the world’s most knowledgeable gem and mineral experts. Starting from a small mineral collection at age ten, he has built one of the planet’s finest mineral collections in private hands. And along with that, he has built Pala International into one of America’s great colored stone houses.
After graduating with a degree in Geological Engineering from the prestigious Colorado School of Mines, Bill started Pala International in 1967. Today he travels the globe several times each year, bringing back both fine gemstones and mineral specimens.
For a full biography of Bill, along with his wife, Jeanne, see Meet the Larsons: Pala’s Globe-trotting Collectors.
Jason Stephenson joined the Pala team in October of 2006. His path in the gem and mineral world began with a Bachelors of Science degree in Geology from the University of Idaho in 1999. He then earned his Graduate Gemology degree from the Gemological Institute of America in 2000 and quickly became involved in the gem trade.
Jason has worked on the wholesale and retail side of the business, and has been involved with the buying and selling of jewelry, gemstones, and mineral specimens.
At Pala, along with sales, Jason has been contributing to the growth of information on Palagems.com, by researching and writing about the ever changing landscape of gem materials.
Mia Dixon took charge of the camera shutter upon the departure of in-house photographer Wimon Manorotkul in late September 2008. (We were told by Wimon that Mia was a quick learner, as tips of the craft were passed on while they worked together.)
Mia first started at Pala International back in 2002 as the Administrative Assistant. She left the company in July of 2004 to raise her first child.
In July of 2008 she joined the team again as the resident photographer, mostly of gemstones but also some shots of mineral specimens. Mia is working part-time so she still can enjoy spending time with her beautiful boys Erik and Axel.
Mia Dixon was born and raised in the area of Gothenburg (aka Göteborg), the trade, educational, and cultural center of southwestern Sweden. She first arrived in California in 1994. Mia received her Associate’s Degree in Fashion Merchandising & Design in 1996 from Palomar College in nearby San Marcos, California.
Carl's passion for the finest gems and minerals was ignited at a very young age and it has only grown from there. Working alongside his father Bill Larson for many years provided extensive, valuable knowledge and experience, which naturally led him to the Gemological Institute of America, receiving his Graduate Gemologist degree in 2013. He has also studied and assisted curating the gem collection at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris, broadening his knowledge and experience. His keen eye for top quality stones has been developed since birth and was fine-tuned by his ongoing education and pursuit of the world's best gems and minerals.
Alison, wife of Carl, joined Pala's team in 2013. Originally from Pennsylvania, her passion for the gem industry led her to the west coast to attend the Gemological Institute of America. She received her Graduate Gemologist degree from the G.I.A. in 2006 and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Hawaii in 2012. She has over ten years of both design and jewelry retail experience, as well as many years of experience in writing and editing. Alison is involved in sales for Pala, as well as directing our social media.