“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” is an old saying in this country. It refers to the relationship and affect it has on women. For decades, women hearts have melted when their love one proposed with a multi-carat diamond engagement ring. The diamond ring sets the mood for beginning families as well as gives a clear fashion statement every time the light reflect it’s beauty.
Today, men, most noticeably celebrities, are getting into the act of purchasing diamonds for themselves. It’s become a new hallmark in our society to fashion your hand, wrist and neck with double digit carat quality. Some celebrities spend upward of hundred of thousand to millions on their jewelry collection. There’s an ever increasing demand for diamonds and having a skilled jeweler is crucial. This is why Mike Nekta is an industry changer. He’s simply one of the best diamond jeweler in the industry.
Mike Nekta is a third generation diamond expert and exquisite jewelry designer. Since 1999, Mike Nekta has crafted and designed luxurious diamond engagement rings, wedding bands and bridal jewelry. In 1994, he also founded the Nekta Watch Collection which showcases his vision for diamond watches. He’s a staple in the industry and his customer can all attest to his brilliance and noteworthy of his craft.
The sought after jeweler sat down with Industry Rules to discuss his career and his unique passion for diamonds.
KL: How about the guys? What wedding bands are trending for men?
MN:Guys are opting for Platinum, white gold, or yellow gold. Never seen them buy rose gold. Rings either have no diamonds, or 1 larger diamond.
KL: How do you ensure your diamonds are ethically and responsibly sourced? What is that process like?
MN: All my diamonds are certified. Any rough diamonds imported into the united states, are accompanied by a kimberley process certificate. Which makes sure the diamond comes from a safe zone. Not a blood diamond, not funding any terrorism. From the time its exported – we are making sure it comes from the right source. Everything is guaranteed to be ethically sourced. I love these questions because some think that getting man made diamonds are more ethically, or have less of a carbon footprint. I’d like to take this moment to say a 1k Man made diamond has a larger carbon footprint.. Another thing is buying genuinely sourced ethically sourced diamonds – helps feed lot of people all over the world. And a lot of the times certain third world countries, are where they are – because of the diamond industry. We’ve been able to provide, transportation, and upgrades to their communities.
KL: I loved hearing about your family history in the jewelry business! The Nektas have come a long way since your grandpa’s booth on 55 West. How much of a role has carrying on that legacy played a role in your decision to continue the business?
MN: In second grade I thought I wanted to be an eye doctor, once I learned about our family business – I changed my path and wanted to come into the family business. In 2003 I helped create the family Nekta Watch. As my friends started getting married, they started requesting Diamond Engagement rings from me, and in that moment – I found my true passion . The diamond engagement ring is connected to something so pure. It’s the start of pure love, and decisions to start a family.. How beautiful. The family was the number one gold chain importer and then slowly moved into adding diamonds into these rings. My generation we are doing more consumer based relationships. Vs. whole sale. I’m the first one in my family to graduate from as a gemologist, from the Gemologist Institution of America. Basically the Harvard for jewelers.
KL: How have you evolved the business and made it your own?
MN: Making the business my own – I was loaded with information. I was able to teach my clients, and provide lots of information regarding diamonds. A lot of people selling diamonds – don’t have the information to teach. I make my clients feel comfortable, by educating them. Also the top of the line technology that I have – separates me from the rest. I have mentors that create jewelry for some of the biggest names and brands. Between my mentor’s wisdom, and our technology – we are creating more feminine looking, and bright diamond engagement rings than ever before.
KL: You designed your own watch – the Nekta watch – tell me what went into the design.
MN: I designed my own watch – the Nekta watch was just a school project – coming from a long lineage of watch makers. It was supposed to be a concept, a theory. Thought it was cool to do for school – putting together designs, and a plan of execution. Of course, I Ace’d the project – so I
went to my father, who wasn’t really impressed by theories – he respected action. So he ask me “Now what” so I spent 12 months traveling the country sourcing every aspect of the watch. The diamonds were cut in india, or russia, Diamond settings done in New York – I just kept putting things together, and then selling it to boxers, athletes, and various people in the industry. Before this the family never really did anything with a particular brand – this was the first family product.
KL: You also love designing engagement rings specifically. Why?
MN: But as I got older, the request for diamond engagement rings came about – and I was able to identify this as my specialty. I believe in the bible, and the bible says that God says we are supposed to be fruitful and multiply . And what happens with the man? He comes with a diamond to ask for her hand in marriage so they can start a family – the meaning behind it, is so pure . The whole concept of this being the first step to a pure, and happy love. All the babies that were born – my diamond ring played a part in the start of families. My ring has been shipping to over countries, and 6 continents. Literally people all over the world. Nothing can beat this.
KL: There are SO many aspects to designing a ring! Color, cut, setting, I could go on. Where do you even begin? What’s your process like?
MN: I love designing engagement rings because of what they represent. And how pure they are. It’s a luxurious fashion accessory that is with the woman all day long – no matter what she’s doing, it’s also the one accessory that you can literally put it in everyone’s faces to show it off! Everyone always asks to see the ring – giving it a lot of attention. But nothing makes me happier than creating engagement rings. Again, the first commandment God said – was to be fruitful and multiply, and I believe my creation has something to do with this. Im literally creating things, and also doing God’s will. Its BEAUTIFUL.
So many aspects of designing a ring – color, cut, setting. It’s just knowing where to start. One of the rings I did this year – 8K Emerald cut, 8.88 K Diamond – this was a ring used for a 25 year anniversary. We upgraded her from a 2K – 8K ring. She came in a few times, she looked at my diamonds, she found the shape she liked – Now once someone has the concept of how they want to make it look. How do I make it happen? I scan the center stone into my CAD – then I start building the ring design on CAD – around the center stone. Once I create the CAD – I have a digital model printed, in a 3D printer. Once I have the model – I create a mold. And from this most – we go and cast it in precious metal – once it’s casted, it gets polished and cleaned up, We also drill so the diamonds can be seated into it. Once the little diamonds are set into it, also before doing that we have to pick through the diamonds, I don’t just use any small diamonds – a lot of the times, smaller diamonds aren’t being cut the way they need to – I take my little diamonds, and send them back to my facility to have my diamonds cut to a certain blueprint to give us the bright diamond effect, yes we lose carats – but the diamonds just look better afterwards. The entire process takes about 7-14 days to complete.
KL: What’s the most difficult part about your job?
MN: I don’t have a difficult part – I’m at the point of my career where challenges excites me. This isn’t a job – this is my passion. I love what I do. I love working under pressure. Im
comfortable, being uncomfortable. This excites me and I literally cannot think of one thing that makes me uncomfortable. I’ve been doing this since 1999. I welcome challenges.
KL: You’re really competitive and love a challenge when it comes to finding the best prices. Would you say you inherited this quality from your grandfather and father? Has it made you great entrepreneurs?
MN: I definitely have ridiculously whole shoes to fill. Both my grandfather, and my father are legends. But this is my sport – being competitive is really my thing. My product is superior – compare my product to the top in the world – and I’m right there with them. I’m about 5-10 years ahead of my industry when it comes to creating. I not only give the best pricing, but the BEST quality at the BEST rate. This is my sport – winning the client’s confidence, and getting them to choose us – that’s what I get excited about.
KL: I can tell family is really important to you. Do you have kids? If so, do you think they will carry on the business?
MN: Family is important to me. I do have a family, a real family man. I try to guide and educate my kids to the best of my abilities. I will not pressure them to come into the family business, but I will lead by example, and inspire them. I will support whatever they do. But I do believe some of my kids will end up doing this – I can see it already. They’re very creative, and intune. I do see this in my kids, they are naturals at dealing with people. Which is major for what we do – since we are direct to the consumer – and always dealing with people. I think its one of the advantages I have because I can connect with my clients. So those two factors, creativity, and great relationships with people – I believe this will help us take the business to higher heights, and continue the family business.
KL: If someone wanted to get a Mike Nekta engagement ring created, how should they start? What information/ideas should they come prepared with?
MN: My clients don’t have to be prepared. I mean if they come with a concept that’s great, but I will still ask questions that will allow us to put together the perfect product. I want to hear their vision, I need to see an image of them, and pictures of hands – and I will put together a work of art. She will be in utter shock when she sees it. This is what I do – I will not fail. There’s Jordan, There’s Tyson – and then there is Nekta – Give me the chance, I will take the shot – Guaranteed success.
By Kristen Lem