“Taking a Leap of Faith” by Ashley C. Chan, G.G., GIA Jewelry Design Certificate, A.J.P.

Faith is a small five-letter word that holds the enormous potential to be life-changing. It is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “fidelity to one’s promises; sincerity of intentions.” For the past five years, I have worked in the luxury jewelry industry in Chicago. Being born and raised there, I’ve always yearned to live in another city, specifically New York, to experience the exciting unknown. At the end of August 2013 I did something bold and gusty: I quit a wonderful, secure, full-time paying job to move to New York in order to pursue my passion for design by enrolling in GIA’s Jewelry Design Course. Needless to say my family and friends thought I was absolutely crazy. I on the other hand, decided it was time to take a “leap of faith” after some deep thought about my life, career and where it was all headed. I am at the age where I am not tied down or have any strings attached. I’ve always been drawn to New York and its vibrant energy since my first visit over 12 years ago. So what did I have to lose?  True that in this unpredictable economy I lost my job security, but now was the time to actually put my thoughts into actions and those actions into motions. I had to have faith and believe in myself first and foremost, which can be scary at times when making such brazen decisions. Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” My dream has always been to draw and design jewelry. Thus, I mustered up the courage, took the leap and moved to Manhattan in the beginning of October ready to begin my life-changing experience.

My time in NYC has been thoroughly enjoyable and has afforded me the opportunity to expand my professional network. I was able to meet and speak with both renowned and burgeoning jewelry designers at events in the city. Everyone has been so welcoming and open with sharing their knowledge of the industry with me, contrary to the stereotype of “rude New Yorkers” I was forewarned about.

GIA’s Jewelry Design Course was very intense, rigorous and challenging. I came here not being able to draw at the beginning of the course and can now transform my ideas into beautiful pieces of jewelry! I am hoping to find a permanent job so I can stay in NYC, but if I go back home I would not consider these few months here a failure because I’m going home. Besides, I came here and accomplished what I set out to do: learn how to draw, design, and soak in all the cultural riches this city has to offer. It has been a personally fulfilling journey these past few months and one of the best experiences of my life. All in all, I am happy that I took the big leap and do not have any regrets.

This is the question I pose to readers: do YOU have the courage to take a “leap of faith” in your professional life just to follow your dreams?

Gen-Next Jewelers Gets Serious About The Future Of The Jewelry Industry

Gen-Next Jewelers (GNJ) is taking steps to prepare for the future of the organization with changes to both its leadership and its mission. 

GNJ is excited to share several shifts and additions to its board. The organization welcomes two new members, Jennifer Apfelbaum of Marco Bicego and John Tierney of JCK Events. Lisa Nikfarjam of Lisa Nik has also taken over as Moderator of the organization, a position held by Michael Schechter of Honora since the organization’s inception in 2008. Schechter will continue to serve on the GNJ Executive Board.

Several of the founding members, including Josh Weinman, Russell Kwiat and Eric Halfacre have completed their term in order to make way for the new wave of Executive Board members. Those continuing on the executive board are Dan Gordon, Samuel Gordon, Sean Moore, Borsheims, Michelle Orman, Last Word Communications, Matt Rosenheim, Tiny Jewel Box and Jeni Weinman,Cora International.

In addition to the changes to the board, Gen-Next is approaching 2012 with the goal of “Moving Jewelry Forward” through several initiatives and an entirely new mission statement:

“Gen-Next Jewelers strives to create a proactive community of open-minded jewelry professionals dedicated to fostering new talent, new ideas and new relationships while honoring the heritage of our industry.”

“With the new mission statement, and our new educational and networking initiatives, there is increased enthusiasm among the executive board,” explains Lisa Nikfarjam. “We continue to believe that Gen-Next can play a significant roll in our industry and we look forward to hearing feedback from anyone who participates in our events so that we can continue to evolve and grow.”

Since it’s introduction, Gen-Next Jewelers has sought to create a platform where the next wave of the jewelry industry can connect. They look to continue evolving that mission in 2012 with a new wave of board members, a refined mission statement, events in both Basel and Las Vegas as well as an educational track on Saturday, June 2nd at JCK during Jewelry Market Week. 

For more information, please contact the organization at gennextjewelers at gmail (dot) com or signup for exclusive content and to be notified about future events and initiatives.