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Third-generation gem expert continuing a family tradition in Oak Harbor
Matt Fikse became a third-generation gemologist last month keeping with family tradition.
Grandson of Gerald and Janet Fikse, founders of Gerald’s Jewelry on Midway Boulevard in 1958, Matt Fikse said he plans to take over the family business after his parents Dave and Jane Fikse retire.
“I’m so proud to be a part of what my grandparents and parents have built,” Matt Fikse said. “It will be an honor to carry on the tradition they have been known and respected for.”
The graduate gemologist diploma is the most prestigious credential in the industry and is recognized by gem and jewelry professionals around the world. Matt Fikse received his diploma from the Gemological Institute of America, a non-profit institute in Carlsbad, Calif. As a resident student, he completed an accelerated curriculum of eight hours each day over several months.
“It is the degree to have in our industry,” Dave Fikse said. “My father had a correspondence degree, I have my residence degree and Matt has his residence degree. We made the decision that the degree was very important.”
In addition to his Graduate Gemologist diploma, Matt Fikse also earned GIA diplomas in Graduate Diamonds, Colored Stones and Accredited Jewelry Professional.
GIA’s mission is to ensure the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science and professionalism.
Matt Fikse said he’s always had an interest in jewelry and gems and started working for his family several years before deciding to go for his gemology degree.
“I knew I would really enjoy working with the people,” Matt Fikse said. “Now I know more about the technical side.”
A new colored LED sign went up this year at Gerald’s Jewelry, an investment Dave and Jane made in the future of the business and in their son.
Matt Fikse said he doesn’t feel much pressure in taking over the family business.
“I knew I liked doing it,” Matt Fikse said. “A lot of the pressure is my drive to be the best I can be and make everyone proud,” Matt Fikse said. “I’m hoping to be able to learn as much as I can.”