RAPAPORT… The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) and celebrity jeweler Lorraine Schwartz have launched an initiative that will give $1 million in credit to emerging designers in the Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) community.
The Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative will provide BIPOC designers with opportunities, remove barriers to entry and offer access to industry education and resources, the NDC and Schwartz said Monday.
“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,” noted Schwartz. “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.”
The program will provide designers with mentorship and $20,000 in credit, and will stand as a guarantor with diamond suppliers. That will help BIPOC industry members establish credit in their own names and understand the process of diamond financing, as well as consignment and memo terms, the NDC said. Once the designer has established credit and relationships in the trade, they will be given access to the NDC’s and Schwartz’s partners, networks and resources.
After designers apply, a selection committee will review and approve applications until the $1 million runs out. The committee will include Schwartz; David Kellie, CEO of the NDC; Nicole Chapoteau, the fashion director of Vanity Fair; and celebrity stylist and designer Jason Rembert. Fashion designer Tina Knowles and singers Pharrell Williams and Kelly Rowland will also weigh in on the applications during the course of the program.
“Creativity and innovation are the forces that drive our industry forward and in order for that to happen, we need more diverse viewpoints,” Kellie stated. “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.”
Image: The new Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative. (NDC and Lorraine Schwartz)