Hello, my darlings.
Much like the fashion industry, the jewelry industry has deeply ingrained issues when it comes to diversity. Many people other than me have written eloquently on this very important subject in recent months. I have tried several times to write something myself, but I can’t get past the fact that my voice just isn’t the right voice for this. But I don’t want to stay silent, either.
Instead of listening to me talk about diversity in the jewelry industry, I recommend that you read this letter: A Collective Statement from BIPOC Designers in the Jewelry Industry.
Diamonds in the Library is and always will be an enthusiastic supporter of diversity of all kinds, in design, editorial representation, sourcing, and every aspect of our glorious and complicated industry. I enthusiastically welcome submissions from any and all jewelry brands, especially if you have something exciting and new to show me (and especially if your marketing materials feature different types of models than what I normally see (diversity in editorial photography is a longtime interest of mine).
I have been making an effort in both public and private ways to support BIPOC & Black jewelers and I plan to continue to do so, always. I plan to continue to strive to grow, but I am also open to suggestions: if you ever see an opportunity for me and/or Diamonds in the Library to be a better ally to the BIPOC members of the jewelry industry, please email me so that we can talk about it.
For now, I have been compiling a list of grants, scholarships, and other opportunities in the jewelry industry for BIPOC & Black Jewelers and I want to share them with you here.
I plan to keep this post updated, so if you hear of our are offering a fund, grant, scholarship or similar for BIPOC & Black Jewelers, please email me and let me know the details!
The Art Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund
Named in honor of influential mid-century modernist New York City-based black jewelry designer Art Smith, a group of 50 jewelry industry brands have joined forces to fund a $50,000 Endowment at FIT that will create ongoing scholarships and mentorships to support black students attending the Jewelry Design program. People of color are historically underrepresented in the jewelry industry and our goal is to turn that statistic around — with your help —one student at a time.
This fund is very new and it does not seem to be accepting applications yet, but it is accepting donations.
The Kassandra Lauren Gordon Fund
DEADLINE: July 30, 2020.
The Kassandra Lauren Gordon Fund is a hardship Fund for Black people in the jewellery community who are self-employed, sole traders, or running micro-businesses employing four people or fewer (including the applicant). The fund was set up by Kassandra Lauren Gordon and is also managed by Kassandra.
The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity is hosting the application process and providing administrative support to the fund. The Charity will not decide who the grants will be awarded to – this will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges, assisted by Kassandra. The judges are Melanie Eddy, Satta Matturi, Victoria McKay, Alex Monroe and Roxanne Rajcoomar-Hadden.
** Please note that this one is due today. I’ve been sharing it on social media, but I wasn’t able to get this blog post any sooner. Go apply for it right now if you’re interested!
2020 Halstead Grant
DEADLINE: August 1
Each year, the Halstead Grant awards $7,500 in start-up capital, $1,000 in merchandise, a trip to Halstead headquarters in Prescott, AZ, and recognition in the jewelry industry. In addition, the winner receives help with press strategies, the cover and feature spread in the annual grant publication Reveal and a showcase in the 2021 Halstead Catalog. Finalists in the Top 5 receive $500 while finalists in the Top 10 receive $250. All awardees also receive a trophy.
Hilary Halstead Scott and the Halstead team started the program in 2006 as a way to encourage new jewelry business owners to take a step back from their bench and seriously look at their plans and goals for their business. This will be the 15th year of competition. Many of the past winners have described the grant as a turning point early in their careers. The application will guide you through the steps necessary to create a solid business plan and entrepreneurship strategy.
This grant is open to all jewelry business owners, but the organizers are especially encouraging BIPOC & Black jewelers to apply.
HERE WE ARE from NYC Jewelry Week
HERE WE ARE was created by NYC Jewelry Week to celebrate the individual and unique voices that make the jewelry world incredible.
Launched in 2019, NYCJW is excited to launch a grant funding program to directly support to jewelers involved in the platform. For the first iteration of the HERE WE ARE Grant Program, NYCJW will provide a financial award to two Black jewelers from the United States who demonstrate a commitment to their craft and seek funding to advance their career or business. Applications will be available starting in August 2020.
Vendorafa & Mani Intelligenti Foundation
Italian jewelry brand Vendorafa is working with the Mani Intelligenti Foundation to to sponsor a scholarship initiative for black students to be trained with the best new generation of master goldsmiths, setters or finishers in Valenza, Italy, learning age old techniques and new technologies [some shown here below] followed by internship opportunities in 2021-2022. Specific information is not yet available about these opportunities, but I encourage you to contact Vendorafa to stay in the loop if you’re interested in staying informed on this one.
Some of these opportunities for BIPOC & Black Jewelers have deadlines that are fast approaching, so if you see something you might want to apply for, don’t wait!
That’s all I have to share for now, but if you hear of our are offering a fund, grant, scholarship or similar for BIPOC & Black Jewelers, please email me and let me know the details! I plan to update this post with new opportunities as I discover them.
Photos c/o For Future Reference, The Kassandra Lauren Gordon Fund, NYCJW, and Vendorafa.