GIA Commencement Address

On May 24th, I had the incredible honor of delivering the commencement address at the GIA graduation of the most recent class of Graduate Gemologists. The experience was incredible and gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own path and experiences at GIA.

Below are my remarks from the day. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed my time at GIA and love being a part of this world of gems!

May 24th, 2019, 3:00pm:

Good afternoon. My name is Eve Streicker. I am the owner of Original Eve Designs, a custom fine jewelry company located here in New York and I am also the President Elect of the Metro New York Chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association, an industry organization with the objective of advancing women in the jewelry and watch industry through education, networking, and leadership development.

It is an incredible honor to be here with you today and to welcome GIA’s most recent class of Graduate Gemologists to the Jewelry Industry.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was at GIA, receiving my GG. Getting my GG was a bit of an accident. After getting a Bachelor’s in Art History from Williams, working in development at museums, I found myself as the assistant to the Curator of Contemporary Jewelry at the Museum of Arts and Design. She encouraged me to get a Master’s degree and so I went for my Master’s of Fine Arts in Metal/Jewelry/CAD-CAM at Tyler School of Art. During the summer of graduate school, I worked for a small antique and vintage store here in the city and I absolutely fell in love with my clients and the diamonds. I decided that after I finished my MFA, I would study diamonds—just diamonds—here in New York.

Only a few weeks behind the microscope alongside an incredible class of Graduate Diamond students and I was hooked. I credit my instructor, the late great Craig Nass with forever altering my trajectory.

Craig Nass was an incredible, passionate teacher with jewelry in his blood. He was a man with the ability to connect with and help each and every person in my diamond class feel like they could achieve their full potential.

How many of you have heard of the Black Orlov diamond? Craig’s father created the setting for that stone and when Craig was a kid, his father would take the jewel back to polish it before the owners wore it annually to a gala. Craig remembered this because he was the decoy and security. Once a year, he was taken out of school on that day to walk hand in hand with his father from the owner’s vault to his father’s workshop with the jewelry slipped into his pocket, nodding to security positioned along the way. Just a casual father-son stroll with a priceless 67.5-carat cursed diamond in his pocket!

I know most of you did not have the pleasure of knowing Craig before he died last year, but I think what he taught me and all of his students carries true for all of the instructors I had and have met at GIA. They introduce us to a world of legend and lore in a personal, tangible way.

At the end of my diamond course, I was at a loss for what to do next. I had come to GIA thinking I was just taking a class, but in those short weeks, I discovered a whole new world. Craig pulled me out of class one day towards the end of diamonds. He sat me down and told me I was good at this. Really good at this. He told me I owed it to myself to get my GG.

With two weeks notice, I moved across the country to Carlsbad where I completed my GG and Graduate Pearls. The experience in Carlsbad was exactly what you experienced here in New York during your GG, except I did my readings on the beach, had bonfires next to rolling waves with my peers, toured tourmaline mines on weekends, and we had cocktail parties at the GIA museum with industry leaders. Other than that, our experiences were exactly the same.

It was actually one of these cocktail parties that turned into the best thing that happened to my career.

That night, I was standing next to a man who said some inane comment that my smart mouth couldn’t help by respond to. When I turned around and looked at him (after I said my rude thing, of course) I saw he was wearing a lapel brooch that looked like a chameleon… and it was made entirely out of alexandrite rough. He was someone. He and the man standing with him laughed. And then they said my humor would be appreciated by someone. Then they introduced me to Doug Hucker, the CEO of AGTA and the person who became my mentor.

That night Doug gave me two pieces of advice that I would like to share with you.

He told me: 1) Make your business cards annoyingly larger than everyone else’s so it stands out in the pile and 2) Join WJA.

Join WJA. I can't emphasize this enough. It is a community and a community is a great place to start the relationships you will need to succeed in this industry.

Since I received my GG in 2013, an incredible number of things have happened:

o I moved back across the country

o I worked in Rhode Island as an estate buyer

o I moved to New York to work for an independent jewelry designer

o I worked for the Jewelry Department at Phillip’s auction house

o I was the Education Specialist at Tiffany and Co, writing their internal curriculum on diamonds, gemstones, and training employees selling bridal and Blue Book pieces.

o I worked at The RealReal for a RealReal hot second, which pushed me to do what I do and love now…

o I own my own business and am honored to be the next President of WJA’s largest chapter: New York Metro.