(NEW YORK) – The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) and celebrated jewelry designer, Lorraine Schwartz announced the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative with $1 million of diamond credit dedicated to supporting emerging Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) jewelry designers.
Both the NDC and Lorraine Schwartz are committed to a more equitable future for the fine jewelry industry and the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative will provide opportunities, remove barriers to entry, and offer access to industry education and resources.
The program will promote inclusivity with a goal to serve as many BIPOC designers, with an interest in furthering their diamond jewelry business, as possible. A well-appointed selection committee including Lorraine Schwartz; NDC CEO, David Kellie; Fashion Director of Vanity Fair, Nicole Chapoteau; and Celebrity Stylist and Designer, Jason Rembert will review and approve designer applications until the $1 million diamond credit runs out. Honorary advisors Pharrell, Kelly Rowland and Tina Knowles will also lend their expert opinions at various stages of the program.
Lorraine Schwartz stated: “It is past time for our industry to be more supportive and share the magic of diamonds with a larger, more diverse group of jewelers. Helping BIPOC designers, and more specifically the underrepresented black designer community, gain entry to diamond vendors and credit financing as well as expand their businesses is a necessary step in the process towards a more equitable industry. This program is another opportunity for me to give back to those communities that have embraced me and have been a wonderful part of my journey as a designer over the last 20 years.”
Without a previous history with suppliers, or references in the industry, it can be notoriously challenging to purchase diamonds as an emerging designer with little resources. The Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative aims to help BIPOC designers establish credit in their own names and understand the process of diamond financing along with consignment and memo terms. The program will offer mentorship and $20,000 credit to each designer and stand as a guarantor with the diamond suppliers. Once credit and relationships are established, the designers will have access to the NDC and Lorraine Schwartz’s partners along with their wide networks and resources.
“Creativity and innovation are the forces that drive our industry forward and in order for that to happen we need more diverse viewpoints,” said David Kellie, CEO, NDC. “This initiative is designed to support emerging BIPOC designers by giving them access to the diamond jewelry industry, which has traditionally been limited, and fostering their ingenuity and successes. We know that more diversity is needed in our field, and that this will benefit the designers and the industry as a whole.”
The Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative’s ultimate goal is to advance inclusivity, expand the number of BIPOC diamond jewelry businesses, and help those already established to expand. Designers will participate in mentorship and education sessions, new marketing opportunities, and gain supply chain and production know-how and resources. Pricing strategy advice and diamond tutorials will also be provided. NDC will promote the designers and their stories.
Designers will be encouraged to utilize a variety of diamonds including those of differing colors and sizes, in order to celebrate the uniqueness of natural diamonds. Designers who do not presently work with diamonds are encouraged to apply.
Applications can be found at naturaldiamonds.com/eddi as of January 25, 2021. The initiative will be on a first come, first serve basis.