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"Each Stone Has Its Own Story," Amaya Jones and the Diamond Business

People
I was born into the loving home of two artists; my mother, a talented painter from Saudi Arabia, and my father, an eccentric actor from London; they provided me with endless years of inspiration and passion to pursue a creative path. Even as a child I felt a strong affinity for learning about art and its hidden dialogue. This ever present thirst for mystery and beauty led me to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tufts University. After working in galleries, I was itching to pave my own way, and set off to receive a Masters in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute. Upon finishing my degree, I merged my creative background in art and business by creating a conceptually based jewelry collection.

My fascination with gemstones and their energetic properties, led me to launch a fine jewelry collection in September 2016. I create pieces that enhance wholeness and bring balance. The necklaces, rings, and earrings are composed of tourmaline and diamonds set in 14K gold. All jewelry is handmade with love in Los Angeles, and the irregular natures of the stones are untouched to ensure that each piece is unique. I hope to inspire... by bringing truth and beauty to the world through the Jewelry's themes of symbolism, mythology, and spirituality.


Inspired by the Native American culture of Tucson, Arizona, my goal was to create a line of accessories that encompassed the spiritual goal of Native Americans, to live in harmony with the universe, Mother Earth, and to all of its creatures: celestial, human, and animal. From that came my first collection, The Sun Collection.

I hope to inspire... by bringing truth and beauty to the world through the Jewelry's themes of symbolism, mythology, and spirituality.

Quality Matters: Know your brand!! It is so important to be clear on your intention as an artist.

It doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good idea: Believe in your brand, know what you stand for, and don't be shy to do things your own way.

Finding the perfect match takes time: Know what you're message is, spend the most time figuring this out so that you have a solid source to pull all of your inspiration and ideas from.

Don’t settle for anything less then the best (stone): If you listen to other people’s opinions too much you lose your vision and identity.

One of a kind doesn’t mean standing alone: Don't do it alone! Make sure that you always have positive, supportive, and helpful people around you to build you business alongside you. Find the right team and be picky! Why would you want to carry all of the weight on your shoulders?

My Tips for Success:

The jewels can sell themselves, but a little help never hurt:

If you can, hire a sales agent to get your work out there in stores and online platforms. Hopefully if you hire a good sales agent you would make up for their cost in sales.

Each stone has its own story, as do we:

Hire a publicist! It’s so important to use your own network and to work with what you have but if you can you should also have some to help you go the extra mile and knock on doors for you. BUT BE CAREFUL. There are a lot of PR groups that are money minded so make sure it’s someone who has values and truly believes in you. Take your time in doing this.

A clean cut, quality vs. quantity:

When choosing a manufacturer, don’t settle! It’s hard to find someone you love working with whose costs are fair and whose work is clean, so don't rush on starting right away. Make a few samples with different people and compare the work and their costs. Take your time with it and find a team that you trust and can count on to deliver high quality work at a fair cost. Do the leg work, it takes a couple of tries to get it right, if you put yourself out there and hunt for the best polisher, best stone setter, best caster, it will pay off!!! It takes a lot of work to get this right.

For the love of the stone:

Find a stone supplier you trust and keep them around. It’s good to develop relationships with your stone supplier that way he/she can keep you in mind when they're scouting pieces. Also its good to be consistent in the stones that you use, even though there are no two tourmalines of the exact same color I find it much easier to stay consistent when I work with the same person.

The cost of business: If numbers really aren't your thing, hire an accountant! It’s always important to keep track of all of your costs and to have an accountant that’s reliable to keep your finances in check, its easy to get carried away in fine jewelry.

Be one of a kind: Don’t be scared to make mistakes or take a few risks, starting a business is all trial and error

Career

Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.


In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.


Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.