The jewellery industry remains a predominantly white one, an imbalance that is steeped in systemic racism throughout the luxury industry. From my own perspective as a member of the jewellery industry in the UK, I have seen many businesses take a long, hard look at how inclusive and/or racist (to be blunt) their companies actually are, and what they can do to contribute to change that will result in more equality and fairness in the short and long term.
Many exciting initiatives have launched this week to not only celebrate but actively support of non-white creatives within the jewellery industry, and we've collated all the information below. Please share far and wide.
1. Jewellers of Colour
Jewellers of Colour launched on Instagram this week with the aim of bringing together a platform of jewellers, makers and designers of colour in the UK and beyond. Founder Banita realised that after 8 years in the industry she was more often than not the only person of colour in the room, and wanted to create a space for jewellers of colour to connect, and share stories and resources. Follow Jewellers of Colour on Instagram and DM your submissions to Banita.
2. Boma x Estelle Dévé Jewelry Grant
Seattle based jewellery brand Boma today announced its first grant program for emerging black designers by pledging a $7,500 grant of design mentorship, materials, resources, development and sampling expertise to a selected grantee. Boma is partnering with London-based jewelry designer and creative consultant Estelle Dévé who will provide guided mentorship and one on one coaching with the grantee.
A common challenge to emerging jewelry designers is the risk and capital needed to test new designs and develop collections, with materials and manufacturing options sometimes being prohibitively expensive. Through the Boma grant program, the selected recipient will have opportunities to test new designs in the market before expanding production, therefore minimizing the risk of manufacturing goods that go unsold. “We recognize that we have resources now that many Black jewelry designers have never had access to. It’s unfortunate that it has taken us so long to recognize this lack of opportunity and development, but we want to make it right and contribute to lasting, positive impact for our grantees and partners,” says Boma Jewelry CEO Suzanne Vetillart.
Applications can be made before the 22nd June 2020 via the Grant page on the Boma website.
3. Mega Mega Projects Mentorship programme
Mega Mega Projects is a US based luxury brand development agency with global reach, with a sparkling roster of fine jewellery brands including Pamela Love and Lydia Courteille. This week founders Lauren Abend and Meghan Folsom launched the Mega Mega Action Plan (MMAP), a pro-bono consulting program for black-owned jewellery brands. "As two white women, we acknowledge that we have been privileged enough to only think about systemic racism when it suited us", explain Lauren and Meghan. "In an effort to take a step towards addressing the disparity of diversity, we have created the Mega Mega Action Plan (MMAP), a series of initiatives that will actively expand diversity in the jewelry industry."
The founders will offer their time, experience and in-depth knowledge, with the hope of having an active and meaningful role in diversifying the jewellery industry. They explain; "This month, we will be accepting applications for the first MMAP initiative. We will provide a three month consulting package, pro-bono, to the selected candidate. By sharing what we have to share, we hope to provide opportunities for people who might not otherwise have access - and actively work to expand the diversity of our community."
For more information on how to apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Open Call for Engagement Ring & Bespoke jewellery designers of colour on The Cut London
The ethos behind The Cut London is one of redefinition; we push to redefine tradition in the engagement ring world, offering modern, non-traditional and inclusive designs for couples wanting to celebrate their love, whilst hoping to democratise and modernise the bespoke jewellery world by supporting and promoting independent jewellery designers. However, over 80% of the designers we collaborate with are white, which doesn't really align with the values I had hoped for the company.
Alongside other efforts to address this imbalance of representation, we are looking to work with more fine jewellers of colour through the engagement ring 'matchmaking' service we offer to clients. Please email email@example.com with 4-5 images of your work for more information.
5. Art Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City
Named in honour of the ground-breaking mid-century Black jeweller Art Smith, a group of 50 jewellery brands (including Retrouvai, Harwell Godfrey, Anna Sheffield, Melissa Kaye and Jacqui Aiche) have joined forces to fund a $50,000 Endowment at FIT that will create ongoing scholarships and mentorships to support Black students studying jewellery design at the college in New York City.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article will be updated regularly, please let us know of any other opportunities to add to the list at email@example.com.