In standard cocktail party conversation, people ask me repeatedly the same question: “What’s it like working with your family? I could never do it!” They continue to tell me that it’s an honorable thing to do, and give it the same sort of admiration that one would confer to a shoemaker who learned his craft from his father and the trade goes back generations in the family. The general notion I hear is that working with your family is a relic of the past and its beauty lies in simple nostalgia alone. They seem to recognize little benefit beyond that and are quick to pass on the opportunity because of the many perceived problems. As someone who grew up steeped in our family’s diamond business, I see things differently. Graduating from college and then grad school, my peers and I were taught to “seek out a career, not a job.” We were told to consider your long term goals and build skills and experiences that help you get there. That was the mantra. In that context, working at Mervis Diamond fulfills that basic requirement of building a career. I am constantly challenging myself and our status quo to grow our company and position ourselves for a brighter future. I differ from my peers, however, in that my work doesn’t build a career in a vacuum. Rather, my energy builds on the legacy and careers of my father, uncles, cousins, grandfather, and the many family members that have contributed to our business before I set foot in the door. I take great pride in the fact that any success we find today with our latest marketing campaign or new product line is only made possible by the innovations my grandfather put into place 40 years ago. To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, it is only “by standing on the shoulders of giants” that I am able to accomplish what I do. There’s a profound difference between superficial nostalgia for the past and a genuine appreciation and love for your daily work and your family that facilitates your success. Primarily, our business provides engagement rings so that others can begin to build families of their own. It feels good to know that our family serves our community and we encourage people to stop every once in a while and recognize the ones they love with gifts. Whether it be diamonds or a hand-written note, the sincerity of a gift and the thoughtfulness behind it shouldn’t be forgotten amidst our busy lives. This is what we stand for. My grandfather Morris Mervis was a master of gift giving, always finding just the right thing for the right moment. With every gift was an exceptionally long card written in perfect script, each line rhyming with the next and playing on countless inside jokes he had with the recipient. His gifts to me were mostly inexpensive but I have a thick folder of his cards that I will keep forever. He built Mervis Diamonds with the same sincere care for customers that he poured into my letters. This is the legacy I am proud to carry on.