Greenwich St. Jewelers: Supporting the BIPOC Community in the Jewelry Industry and Beyond
In 1976, Carl and Milly Gandia opened Greenwich Jewelers on Greenwich Street in downtown New York City. Carl, who worked as a jeweler’s apprentice in New York’s Diamond District since he was 17, brought home an ad to his wife, Milly, that read “Jewelry Store for Sale.”
For years, their store sat on Greenwich Street. Carl created the custom pieces for which the store became famous, and Milly, stood behind the counter, selling diamond jewelry and establishing connections with customers that they considered friends.
When their father passed away in 2018, his daughters, Jennifer and Christina, described him as “a dreamer who had the audacity to believe a Puerto Rican from the humblest of beginnings could become a businessman, serve his community and make a better life for his family.”
Their father’s legacy has inspired Jennifer and Christina to remain committed to equality, environmentalism, and giving back wherever they can.
Jennifer and Christina were raised to understand the importance and value of jewelry, but more importantly, the importance and value of giving back and helping others.
In 2001, after the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks on September 11th, Greenwich Jewelers faced structural damage to their store, forcing them to relocate. These devastating events allowed their family—both immediate family and customers alike—to come together.
Jennifer and Christina worked alongside their parents “to do all they could to keep their family business alive.”
The Gandia sisters have used their previous experiences to keep their family business thriving: Jennifer, with a degree from F.I.T. and a passion for fashion, and Christina, with experience in Finance and a background as a GIA Gemologist. In 2016, the Gandia Sisters renamed their store from Greenwich Jewelers to Greenwich St. Jewelers to honor their first location and the legacy of their brand.
This year, Greenwich St. Jewelers has gone above and beyond to continue their commitment to diversity and inclusion. As sisters who are part of the BIPOC community, their business is composed primarily of women, with over 40% of their entire staff identifying as BIPOC.
As the United States has faced the ongoing fight for diversity and inclusion, Greenwich St. Jewelers has helped lead the cause through the jewelry industry. In 2018, Jennifer Gandia led discussions and panels on steps to further diversify the industry.
Greenwich St. Jewelers has supported New York City Jewelry Week’s efforts for diversity and inclusion for BIPOC Designers by sponsoring a “Here We Are” award which awarded $5,000 to a BIPOC Jewelry Designer. This year, the winner was Lorraine West of Lorraine West Jewelry.
Throughout the month of December, Greenwich St. Jewelers is donating 5% of total sales to WIN-NYC–the largest provider of shelter and supportive housing for homeless families in New York City.
“In the industry, people are always talking about the 4 C’s of a diamond,” Christina Gandia-Gambale said. “I think about the 4 C’s being the facts about diamonds, but I think there’s room for a 5th C: Conscience.”
Greenwich St. Jewelers efforts to further advance BIPOC designers, jewelers, and friends in the industry is another way that Diamonds Do Good.