I started my career as an in-house lawyer for an American multinational commodity trader in Geneva, Switzerland and later in my native Holland, at the company’s international holding company. I enjoyed my job and the daily international interactions with colleagues from Russia, Ukraine, Italy, the US, you name it. It was invigorating and enriching yet by always having to adapt and more or less ‘being at the office' all the time, I realized I was slowly turning into a person that I didn’t recognize any longer. Always being on my guard, trying to conform with little room for spontaneity or creativity.
I remember a dear colleague asking me once "Eva, do you actually really like your job?". (She was a former professional ballerina who now worked in our company, so I could fully understand how uninspiring some of our tasks must have seemed to her!) A pivotal and 'on the spot putting' question to which I knew the answer deep down of course. But the path of realization and then change is never smooth nor fast nor easy.
I needed to stand still (which is a very hard thing to do if you tend to be a little bit too energetic) and take an honest look in the mirror to ask myself: “What are things that are important to me, what makes me smile, what exactly is it that really resonates in me?”
I needed to look beyond what I had created over the years and go back to that which was forgotten.
A tempestuous journey that took many detours and layers to uncover - another law degree, job and the process of adjusting your perspective which tends to be heavily influenced by your studies, background, friends, colleagues and family - and yet, eventually, in 5 years, it was suddenly there.
I’d always loved Italian and French fashion and their color gemstone jewelry, as inspired by my mother and grandmother and by the fact that I’d come to both countries since I was a child. I’d taken this for granted for a very long time.
I love the ease of style of the Italians and French, and how they use accessories to transform a simple outfit into a head-turning look.
So, one evening, while putting on my own gemstone earrings, I recalled how I’d always been fascinated by gemstones, and had even given a presentation on minerals in primary school. An idea began to surface and by realizing that I didn’t actually know much about gemstones or their origins, I knew I needed to go back to school if I was to become an expert.
I went looking for the best gemology course I could find in color stones. And this happens to be in exotic Bangkok, the world’s trading hub for colored gemstones where I ended up living for a year. Instead of living my daily life in black and white between facts and figures, I had now entered a world of color and possibilities and creativity.
Now I have a company where I personally handpick fine quality, rare color gemstones and design jewelry with them. I also get to choose the people I spend the most time with.
The people I now have had the pleasure of meeting as an entrepreneur are supportive individuals who empower each other and want each other to be successful. I am still pleasantly surprised when I go to a new city to continue my adventure and to feel supported by people who were once strangers and yet, we walk away from our meetings as friends.
When I think of looking beyond, I have to smile as I look beyond the black and white life of being a lawyer to my colorful life as an entrepreneur. It wasn’t something that I could have predicted or that I knew I always wanted to do. It is something that evolved over time, that I considered for much longer than I would have liked, and that I allowed myself to ease into.
Life is an adventure, you don’t always have to have all of the answers before you leap, just choose to live in color and for sure you will be a lot closer to finding what you truly want and attract people around you who also see the world in all its colorful splendor and opportunities.
About the Author:
Eva Meijer is a personal gem stylist and jewelry designer who combines fashion insights with gemological recommendations to match the perfect color stone to its intended owner. Always on the lookout for color, you can find her either running for a plane or discovering beauty in the Met in New York, in Bangkok’s street food or in Milan’s fashion style!