Home News De Beers and Couture Illuminate Diversity in Fine Jewelry at New York Event

De Beers and Couture Illuminate Diversity in Fine Jewelry at New York Event

by Madonna

In a resounding celebration of diversity within the fine jewelry industry, De Beers and Couture joined forces in a New York event to honor the continued strides made towards inclusivity and empowerment. The event shone a spotlight on initiatives such as the Fifteen Percent Pledge, the CFDA Impact: Black in Fashion Council, and Harlem’s Fashion Row, which have rallied to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) design entrepreneurs.

One of the industry’s significant contributions to this cause was the establishment of the Couture Diversity Action Council, affectionately known as Couture DAC. Launched in 2020, this pioneering initiative by Couture, the annual fine jewelry show in Las Vegas, is designed to foster mentorship and provide invaluable business and sourcing-focused workshops for budding BIPOC designers, pairing them with seasoned jewelry artisans. De Beers, a prominent name in the diamond industry, lent its support to this noble endeavor.


Eric Ford, Neiman Marcus precious jewelry buyer and DAC board member, welcomed guests to the Chelsea Hotel dinner. Sally Morrison, the PR director for natural diamonds at De Beers, articulated the driving force behind the diamond giant’s involvement in this movement. She highlighted their focus on the “upstream” aspects of the business, as most of De Beers’ employees reside in South Africa. Morrison conveyed their realization that it was equally vital to invest “downstream” to communicate the company’s core values.


In addition to its support for DAC, De Beers spearheaded the #BlackisBrilliant partnership with RAD Red Carpet Advocacy, funding BIPOC designers to create dazzling, award-worthy pieces and pairing them with celebrity stylists for red carpet appearances. Another notable collaboration, Ten/Ten, in conjunction with Blue Nile, featured ten designers, each crafting engagement rings available on the e-commerce platform.


Morrison explained that De Beers’ participation in DAC led to a second year of support, where they provided raw materials and financial resources to create fine jewelry collections showcased at the Couture trade show as part of the Radiance initiative. This initiative featured a talented cohort of designers, including 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).

Historically, entry into the jewelry industry often relied on familial connections or access to substantial capital. Morrison emphasized the necessity of breaking down these barriers for designers of color. Providing materials to these creative minds and supporting the development of their collections is crucial to addressing the inherent inequities in the industry.

Lorraine West, a jeweler, and beneficiary of the De Beers-supported DAC program, spoke about how it positively impacted her business. West’s journey illustrates the ripple effect of opportunity created by DAC. Her work, known for its distinctive nipple hoops, is now available at Muse X Muse, a prominent New York multibrand showroom. Furthermore, she collaborated on a philanthropic nipple hoop collection with Greenwich Street jewelers, donating 20 percent of the proceeds to the Living Beyond Breast Cancer charity.

Gannon Brousseau, the executive vice president of luxury, design, and creative of Emerald, the group overseeing the Couture tradeshow, elucidated the meticulous process of pairing emerging designers with established counterparts. He emphasized the importance of aligning aesthetics, skill sets, and shared artistic perspectives.

The event also celebrated the work of BIPOC graphic designer Toga Cox, who contributed to the #BlackisBrilliant campaign and Radiance collection visuals. Morrison disclosed that Cox had been enlisted to resurrect the iconic ‘Seize the Day’ campaign, a component of the legendary ‘A Diamond is Forever’ De Beers campaign. In closing, Morrison emphasized the transformative impact of diversity on the brand’s image and work, making it stronger, better, and more inclusive.


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