There is not enough discussion about how difficult it is to enter the field of noble jewelry. In Fashion, for example, you could probably create a brand without leaving the clothing district. This does not mean that it is easy to put it in Fashion. But if you compare it to the astronomical entrance fees that fine jewelry designers have to pay to even get their foot in the door, it might look like this.
So it makes sense that the industry has always been exclusive. “Historically, it was a small and fairly closed sector that depended on family relationships over several generations to access materials, workshops, etc.,” explains Sally Morrison, director of public relations on natural diamonds at De Beers Group, one of the oldest and most respected diamond companies in the world.
“So if you don’t have an ‘in’, you’re not in!” The most important barrier to entry (of some) is the cost associated with the purchase of precious materials. “The construction of [each] room is slow and labor-intensive, and many retail stores expect to receive goods on Memo,” says Morrison. (A memo in the jewelry room simply means sending.) Due to this decades-old custom, many independent designers, no matter how talented they may be, will never be part of Fine Jewelry.
Morrison and the De Beers team understand these obstacles and have made it their mission to overcome them. Their ultimate goal is for their industry to finally reflect America as it is today, a place where diverse approaches to creativity are celebrated instead of being eradicated. Morrison said there was clearly no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting the diversity of Design and Talent in the jewelry field. “Our response is supposed to be as diverse as the designers who need support,” she explains. “We aim for a multi-level approach.
“Some examples of the company’s work include sponsoring the Teen Gems program at 92 St.y in New York, where students gather and provide them with resources for basic jewelry making skills. De Beers also collaborated with RAD or Red Carpet Advocacy on a campaign called #BlackIsBrilliant, in which mid-career jewelry designers worked with famous stylists to help them get placements at big red carpet events.
More recently, the Morrison team teamed up with the Surf Lodge for the 15th anniversary of the Montauk stalwart, and the hotel’s founder and creative director, Jamya Cardoso, curated a collection of pieces by independent jewelry designers, including Lorraine West, Maggi Simpkins and Ten Thousand Things founders Ron Anderson and David Rees, who are all also responsible for the creation of a new
During a sunset dinner on the private beach of the hotel and the venue, I had the pleasure of talking to the four creatives who are shaping the industry about their unique entrepreneurial journeys, the community they have each built in the field of jewelry and their greatest successes. Until now. Scroll down to dive in.