(NEW YORK) – COUTURE is pleased to announce the launch of The Radiance by COUTURE, a showcase of capsule collections created by 13 Radiant Designers featuring diamonds with De Beers’ Code of Origin. This initiative is the culmination of the inaugural mentorship program of COUTURE’s Diversity Action Council (DAC), which was formed in the summer of 2020. The Radiance by COUTURE was created in partnership with De Beers, which provided each of these BIPOC designers with diamonds with De Beers’ Code of Origin and a budget for production. These capsule collections will be revealed in a salon in COUTURE’s main show floor and will be available commercially, providing retailers a unique opportunity to support COUTURE’s Radiant Designers and add a fresh, youthful perspective to their own assortments.
“We are honored to partner with De Beers to provide a platform for these 13 talented designers,” explains Gannon Brousseau, COUTURE Director and EVP, Emerald. “It has been so enriching engaging with the designers and watching their businesses flourish and evolve over the last 18 months. These capsule collection launches are certain to add a high level of excitement to our event and we are delighted to welcome these designers to our community.”
“We were very happy to support the COUTURE DAC program,” noted Sally Morrison, Director of PR, Natural Diamonds. “Their first outing boasted an impressive designer line-up, and we are proud to collaborate with them all to extend this program.”
The 13 Radiant Designers whose work makes up The Radiance by COUTURE are: Angely Martinez, Ashley Thorne (A.M. Thorne), Jules Kim (BIJULES), Kassandra Gordon (KLG Jewellery), Khadijah Fulton (White/Space Jewelry) Lola Fenhirst, Lorraine West, Maggi Simpkins, Melanie Eddie, Olivia Shih, Sara Bautista, Viviana Langhoff and Zulaikha Aziz (Mazahri). The DAC Mentors are: Erin O’Donnell (COUTURE), Elizabeth Bonanno (The EAB Project) Fernando Jorge, Floriana Annibali, Jennifer Maxwell (Leigh Maxwell), Joel Cheatwood (Gems & Tonic), Julez Bryant, Lauren Godfrey (Harwell Godfrey), Megan Aoki, Monica Stephenson (ANZA), Pamela Love, Polly Wales, Prerna Sethi (Sethi Couture), Stephen Webster and Zoe Chicco.
The DAC was formed in the summer of 2020 to create a catalyst for addressing the issues of systemic and institutionalized racism which have contributed to the lack of diversity within the fine jewelry industry. Through demonstrated leadership, as well as collaboration with its community, the DAC’s mission is to contribute to the creation of a more diverse, inclusive and equitable industry through the implementation of programs and initiatives that promote and support Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) within all facets of the jewelry ecosystem. The DAC is made up of retailers, designers, press and industry insiders from the COUTURE community, as well as members of the COUTURE team. A complete list of DAC members can be found here thecoutureshow.com/show/diversity-action-council.
A key focus of the DAC has been its inaugural mentorship program. In January of 2021, designers from the BIPOC community were paired with designers and industry insiders from the COUTURE community for one-on-one mentorship which included ongoing guidance, resource sharing and support. The DAC augmented the contributions of the mentors through weekly or bi-weekly education sessions with experts in a variety of fields, including brand development, business fundamentals, financial guidance and ethical gem purchasing.
“In developing our mentorship program, we wanted to ensure that the parameters we established first and foremost benefited the specific needs of the participating designers,” explains Eric Ford, Precious Jewelry Buyer of Neiman Marcus and head of the DAC. “Within the application process, we sought feedback from the applicants so that we could thoughtfully pair them with a mentor who was uniquely positioned to meet their needs. It is a key focus of the DAC to not only promote and support BIPOC talent, but to amplify their voices and provide resources based on success metrics determined by and for BIPOC to directly address the barrier to entry in the jewelry industry.”
While conceptualizing and creating their diamonds with De Beers’ Code of Origin capsules, the designers were briefed by multiple teams within De Beers on what the Code of Origin trusted source program stands for – assurance that diamonds are natural and conflict-free, were sourced by De Beers in Botswana, Canada, Namibia or South Africa and in line with the company’s deep commitments to social and environmental responsibility, reflected by its ‘Building Forever’ sustainability framework.
In addition to the contributions of COUTURE and De Beers, in-case displays have been custom designed and generously donated by PAC Team. Australia-based, luxury jewelry box company Trove is donating hand-made trays for each of the designers to use when presenting their collections, as well as trunks to showcase the collections during appointments.
The Radiance by COUTURE can be seen in Salon 633 in the Cristal Ballroom during COUTURE 2022, June 9-12 at the Wynn, Las Vegas, with a Preview Event on the evening of June 8. For more information about the DAC or The Radiance by COUTURE contact Michelle Orman, Michelle@LastWordcomm.com. To book an appointment during COUTURE 2022, please contact Jennifer Nottonson, firstname.lastname@example.org.