From mine to market, women play an integral role in the journey of a diamond. This article is part of a series around International Women’s Day that profiles women working in each stage of a diamond’s journey and the impact it has on their lives.
For as long as I can remember, the diamond industry has been a part of my life — in my family, it was almost as if I was born into it.
Growing up, my father established himself and his brand as one of the preeminent diamantaires in the industry. In building William Goldberg, he placed a premium on quality in everything we do — from our diamonds to our relationships to our service.
Diamonds possess a unique beauty — not only in how they look, but also in what they evoke in the wearer. My father was fond of saying, “I could’ve gone into a lot of industries, but I went into one that brings joy and beauty into people’s lives.” That thought always resonated with me, and quickly it became clear that I wanted to help bring that same radiance to our clients.
As I began my career, I was lucky to have a strong family and mentors. However, as in many industries at the time, few female role models were available.
Well, we have come quite a long way in 30 years. The number of women who are now a part of the diamond industry — from geologists to cutters to designers to jewelers — has increased dramatically. Today, the Women’s Jewelry Association advocates for, and mentors women looking to enter and advance in the business. In 2013, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) appointed its first female president and CEO, Susan Jacques. The American Gem Society just named its second female CEO, Katherine Bodah, and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee has long been helmed by women, most recently by Tiffany Stevens.
This type of infrastructure and leadership illustrates just how great a leap the industry has taken in elevating women. As a female executive myself, I know there is an important role to play in investing in the future of women in the diamond business.
An integral part of that is illustrating all the ways that women can visualize their own career path — and there is no better place to start than with education.
This year will mark the 14th anniversary of the William Goldberg GIA Scholarship Fund — an annual award of $10,000 to aspiring students to be used toward any on-campus GIA gemology program. As the world’s preeminent authority on diamonds and leading institution for the study of gemology, GIA gives young professionals the opportunity to learn about our trade and equips them with the skills to forge their own careers. Since its inception, the scholarship has helped young women pursue a career that may have previously been out of reach due financial or geographic barriers.
Their stories inspire me, and I have been fortunate to see the results. Over the years, many of our scholarship recipients have reached back out to share their updates on their careers. These stories range far and wide — whether it’s Stephanie Tafoya, who is using her GIA degree to launch her career in New Mexico or Kaila Portell, who has leveraged her degree as a Graduate Gemologist to follow in her mother’s footsteps and has already been invited to join a board for emerging jewelers. Young professionals like Stephanie and Kaila underscore the important role women play in building a strong, vibrant future for the diamond business.
In a rapidly evolving world, the role of diamond jewelry is changing as well. Women are looking for diamonds that are distinct and wearable — the days of leaving your diamonds in a bank vault are over. There will always be room in our industry for differentiators, and women are leading the design of diamond jewelry for women. At William Goldberg, I head our design team that is made up of fabulous women. We know what works and what does not, what people want to wear and what they do not. With social media, sharing and influencing has never been as instantaneous and easy. It is a new paradigm, and one that we are already seeing women drive and disrupt!
Diamonds exist to bring out our own radiance — the jewelry we wear illuminates our style, confidence and happiness. Those virtues are what attract people to the diamond business to begin with, and as our industry changes, women have a tremendous opportunity to pave the way forward.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day this week, it brings a smile to my face to see how far women have come in our industry. Looking back on my career, it is clear that there is nothing I would rather have done. It is thrilling to see that each year more and more women are able to share in that feeling, and to take part in bringing people the joy that only a true diamond can.
Eve Goldberg is a principal in one of the world’s most renowned diamond jewelry houses, William Goldberg, for over 30 years, a business founded by her father over 60 years ago. From naming a new collection, to overseeing the design of a custom piece, to ensuring that all of the Famous Stones cut by William Goldberg remain in the history books, Eve is dedicated to taking this remarkable family business to new heights.