Oh So Tempting Jewelry, by Original Eve
Eve Streicker discusses her love of creation through jewelry design, and the perks of crafting personal relationships through her art. Focusing on the community that jewelry can create, Original Eve Designs gives back with impact, supporting both customers and the trade as a whole.
What inspired you to design and work with gemstones as a career?
I think gemology is the perfect combination of art and science to hold my attention forever. I am the kind of person who needs to be constantly learning and challenged by what is in front of me, or I quickly lose interest. With jewelry design and gemology, every new piece and new stone provides learning opportunities and a fresh approach. I think designing something that sits on the body and represents a feeling shared between people or a milestone is like problem solving—it needs to be comfortable, communicate, and be unique. And the value of the piece needs to be apparent not only in the material worth, but also in the layers of emotion and thought buried in the design.
As an art historian by training, I also love the way jewelry becomes a momento of a time period or art movement. A Deco ring is a miniaturized skyscraper, displaying feats of engineering like those looming buildings in the innovative cuts of a baguette, or the use of platinum to cantilever stones in never before seen arrangements. Owning jewelry is owning a moment in history!
You have received awards for your work, and we are wondering which of these would you say is the most memorable?
Winning awards is always a nice way to feel validated for the work that goes into creating something. I have to admit that the elation of an award is a bit fleeting compared to connecting with people who are affected or changed by my work. For example, when I was visiting the store I work with in Providence, RI, Reliable Gold Ltd.; and I met someone for the first time who had purchased several of my pieces. It was one of my favorite encounters I have ever had with someone who wears my jewelry. She immediately gave me a hug and thanked me for introducing her to the world of jewelry, as my pieces were the very first she had ever purchased for herself!
As the conversation went on, I learned a lot about her and how discovering my jewelry marked a distinct transition in her life. She found that the compliments she received when she wore the jewelry really affected her mood and outlook, and gave her a new sense of self and confidence she’s been missing since divorcing.
That day she tried on several pieces I had with me. After a while, she looked at my face, pointed at my ears, and bought the black onyx earrings I was wearing right off of my ears! Then, she bought my favorite Tahitian Pearl pendant off of my neck! And then, when I was putting on different earrings to keep myself from feeling naked as I walked out of the store, she bought those off of my ears as well!
It was a really funny and memorable interaction that left me laughing and feeling so grateful that my work brings joy to its wearers. It was a much more meaningful reward than an award.
Original Eve Designs tells stories through jewelry, whether it be about nature, or about two individuals in love. Can you tell us about the most memorable experience creating for each of these?
The most memorable custom piece I created was made as a donation to an organization called Wish Upon A Wedding, that grants weddings and vow renewals to couples facing serious illness or life-altering circumstances.
Unlike most of the couples for whom I make wedding bands, Karen and Rich were already married. In fact, Karen and Rich met at 17 and married at 22, and their bond became tighter and more meaningful over the course of their 24-year marriage. When Karen was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer after experiencing strange pains in her shoulder, Wish Upon a Wedding granted them the opportunity to renew their vows in front of friends and family.
I created vow renewal bands that represented their crossed paths through twisted knot motifs and visual references to holding hands during long walks together and with their children at the beach.
Karen mentioned that her illness provided her with a new perspective: That everything in life is about health and family. That as long as she and Rich had each other and health, she was lucky and happy. Her optimism and beautiful spirit were absolutely contagious, and I feel very lucky to have been able to meet them through the organization and contribute to their story.
Throughout this year, what is next for Original Eve Designs? What is next for you personally?
I think 2020 is shaping up to be a big year for Original Eve Designs! 2019 brought my first retail partnerships that have changed the game for me! I am looking forward to new partnerships that are in the works, and enjoyed connecting with buyers while showing for the first time in Booth 3020 at the AGTA Gemfair in February.
One of the biggest things happening for me personally is taking the helm of WJA’s Metro New York Chapter, as the next President. I am really excited to be leading the largest chapter of WJA. We have a dynamic group of people on the board and a slew of exciting events being planned!
Can you tell us what led you to wanting to pursue this role? What is your vision for the future of the NY Metro chapter?
I have found my involvement with WJA to be incredibly rewarding. As someone who was not born into an industry family, I was able to create a family through the community. I have met vendors, dealers, manufacturers, show organizers, and press through WJA, which has helped my career enormously. But more importantly, I have made some of my closest friends.
Big things are happening with WJA and I am so excited to be a part of it! WJA’s headquarters recently moved to New York City and a new executive director, Jennifer Markas, came on board. With these changes and a new strategic plan coming from the National branch of the organization, WJA is moving into a new phase.
I am really excited to be able to work with the Metro Board to put these plans into reality! We will be creating events and programing to benefit members, focusing on the main tenants of the organization: Education, Mentorship, Networking, and Community. I hope that we will see a lot of new and old faces at events, be able to take advantage of the cultural resources available to us here in NYC, and offer tangible member benefits that will help women in the jewelry and watch industry advance their careers and find true friends and partners along the way.