This week, the Natural Diamond Council and Lorraine Schwartz unveiled the first Emerging Designers Initiative Collections [EDDI]. The inaugural guarantees brings together Jameel Mohammed of KHIRY, Dorian Webb, Constance Polamalu of Birthright Foundry, Marvin Linares of Marvin Douglas Jewelry, Malyia McNaughton of Made by Malyia, and Lisette Scott of Jam + Rico. As the designers will be featured in a designated trunk show on Moda Operandi beginning today, let’s learn more about the talent to watch.
The program, which kicked off in January 2021 with $1 million dollars of diamond credit dedicated to supporting emerging BIPOC jewelry designers, aims at guaranteeing a more equitable future for the diamond jewelry industry by providing opportunities, removing barriers to entry, and offering access to industry education and resources.
Designers each received a $20,000 diamond credit at cost, as well as retail opportunities and selling support, press opportunities, diamond education, funding for production, CADs, and sampling. They also received in-depth mentorship from industry experts. Earlier this week, the designers were on hand at Spring Studios to show their impressive collections in-person to New York-based editors.
Peruse show-stopping pieces from each of the designers below!
“The Natural Diamond Council is incredibly proud of what the first group of designers in the EDDI program have accomplished in their first year, ” David Kellie, CEO at Natural Diamond Council says. “They have achieved exciting milestones such as appearances on the MET Gala red carpet, designing a custom collection for our most recent global advertising campaign featuring Ana de Armas, and partnering with best-in-class production partners to bring diamond jewelry collections to life.
Kellie continues: “From the onset, Natural Diamond Council wanted to ensure a dynamic environment that allowed for a flow of communication between our organization and the designers. We set out to listen and learn, crystallizing a structured program step by step, growing from challenges and celebrating successes along the way. We are thrilled to have Moda Operandi appreciate the value of these designers and partner with us to create more space for designers of color in the diamond industry.”
The next class of grantees includes Casey Perez, Corey Anthony Jones, Heart The Stones (founded by Halle Millien), Lana Ogilvie, Mckenzie Liautaud, and Ruben Manuel. The initiative will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis until the $1 million credit runs out. BIPOC Jewelry designers can apply at naturaldiamonds.com/eddifund/