Cranford jeweler becomes leader in historically male industry
A jeweler in Cranford has broken the glass ceiling to become a leader in a historically male industry.
“Women wear jewelry, we wear it, we're involved in fashion, so it just seemed like a really good fit,” says Ellen Ramer, owner of Martin Jewelers.
Ramer has owned the jewelry store since 1994, but she's worked there since 1976.
“When I first started here, I actually started in the china and crystal department emptying garbage, polishing silver cleaning crystal,” says Ramer. “I never thought that I was going to ever be owning the store.”
Ramer was in college at the time, and when an opportunity in the service department of the jewelry store presented itself, she took it
“That's where I really learned the business and became a gemologist and even apprenticed as a watchmaker," says Ramer.
The jewelry industry was very much an all-boys club when Ramer first stepped on the scene, even though women make up a bigger percentage of jewelry consumers. Jordan Goodman is an economist who says the issue goes back centuries.
“It goes all the way back to the middle ages diamonds, and trading of gem stones were the main forms of commerce and women weren't part of the game,” says Goodman.
Today the industry has evolved. It's still male dominated, but women now have opportunities they didn't have before. There are also scholarships and organizations, such as the Women's Jewelry Association, helping women advance in every aspect of the industry.
“The fact that more people know about this, that they can learn this it's not just by going in and just becoming a sales person; that the gemology can certainly advance your career through the gem lab and through a lot of different high- end industries,” says Ramer.