When you walk into the diamond exchange on 47th Avenue in NYC, it is a vibrant marketplace filled with vendors and buyers. In this cold weather, some shoppers are in fur coats walking down the narrow aisles browisng for that something 'special'.
We are here to meet with Sheryl Jones one of my most anticipated interviews. I see her in the back of the room as soon as we walk into the exchange and we excitedly meet for the first time.
Tall and thin, loud and funny, we hit it off immediately. Sheryl had us scheduled in an empty room on the 9th floor above the exchange, so we could set up the backdrop for the photography, and the interview camera. The light poured in from the window, and was perfect for our purposes.
We engaged in a lively conversation and a dynamic and compelling interview, as Sheryl pulls no punches. She is a true pioneer and the only black woman in the Exchange on 47th today. She discusses directly the issue of being an Afro-American woman in the diamond district where there are very few women, never mind black. Sheryl comes from a backround of PR in MTV so her attitude was cool, confident and strong, and she presents herself as a true leader in every way.
Her story is humbling, and very inspirational for those women aspiring to get into the jewelry business, as well as she some insights regarding being a minority. We talked about all aspects of the jewelry industry, and how she navigated through some tough times, and how she developed her style. Her initial introduction was a course at the Gemological Institute of America in Diamond Grading, and this education shaped her new found love of jewelry. She was given tough love from the other Middle Eastern women vendors when she first came on, which shaped her style of presentation, and methods of selling. She traded in her casual clothes for a suit, to match the surrounding salespeople's style in the exchange.
Today, in our interview, she drapes herself in the chair in front of the backdrop, elegant and casual all in the same refreshing breath. Her next venture is about to launch, which is a line of jewelry on the Home Shopping Network. In many ways, this is the mark of total success in the jewelry industry.
I consider Sheryl Jones to be a good friend and I am happy for her success. What I loved most is her laugh, and we did a lot of that.