Opinion

3 People in Jewelry Who Have Made Sincere Efforts to Boost the Profiles of African Americans

New York City. June 8, 2020. Last week was a nationwide roller coaster of emotions with myriad efforts made to spotlight racial injustices and root out offenders in police brutality. While peaceful protesters call for changes in police policies, including the elimination of the use of knee and choke holds as acceptable practices for police officers, many in the jewelry community aimed to lend support on social media. In response to the #BlackoutTuesday movement started in the music industry, dozens of designers and retailers posted black squares to their social media accounts with the #BlackoutTuesday hashtag.

Undoubtedly, all were well-intentioned, but how many of the posters actually addressed or learned about or supported any of these or related causes before last week? Now, maybe they have done so quietly and behind the scenes, but as I discussed with friends, I just hope the ultimate takeaway from all these high emotions is that being a good person, respecting other cultures and peoples, and living by example is a lifelong commitment; it’s not just posting a black square on a Tuesday. I hope all those black squares will serve as stepping-stones for us to grow and become more empathetic.

Anyway, the following are a trio of individuals in jewelry who immediately made thoughtful and timely moves to make a difference in their own way in the African American community. My respect goes out to them.

Hannah Becker of @diamondoodles on Instagram. Last week, the industry’s beloved artist, illustrator, and gemologist did some homework and developed a list of 70 black-owned jewelry, gem, and crystal industry designers, businesses, and content creators and posted them in three parts on her Instagram account. The goal? To amplify black voices.

According to Becker in her first post, “Steps as simple as liking, commenting, sharing posts, and following these accounts can make a major difference in what content Instagram prioritizes on this platform.” She also noted that “It is not the job or obligation of black people to educate white and nonblack POC about where the holes in our knowledge lay.” Preach, girl!!

Those featured include @johnnynelsonjewelry, @particulieres.nyc, and @shoprubenlovesmejewels.

Find all those featured in Part I, Part II, and Part III by clicking the links.

Hannah Becker's @diamondoodles

Jewelry designer Lauren Harwell Godfrey of Harwell Godfrey/@harwellgodrey on Instagram. On Wednesday, June 3, Harwell Godfrey unveiled a black onyx version of her heart pendant with 100 percent of profits benefitting the @naacp or the organization of your choice that fights for black justice. Overnight, she raised $13,336 for the @naacp, and by Saturday, June 6, she had raised $23,338. By Sunday, that sum jumped to $38,341.

“I am overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support I’ve received in the past few days. Thank you for sharing my story and my work and for following me,” she told followers. “I am hopeful that we won’t just move on to the next issue but will continue to fight this fight and bring about real and lasting change.”

Jewelry designer Lauren Harwell Godfrey of Harwell Godfrey
Heart necklace in 18k gold with black onyx and diamonds, $2,500; available online at Harwell Godfrey

Heart pendant in 18k gold with black onyx and diamonds, $2,500; available online at Harwell Godfrey

Jewelry designer Polly Wales of @pollywales on Instagram. On Thursday, June 4, Polly Wales posted a black square with a clear message: Take Over My Instagram. In a phone interview with Wales on Friday, she explained that she had been inspired by @redskyshop on Instagram to allow black business owners, artists, or brands to post to her platform and 92,300 followers.

Thus far, she has several individuals—including Simone Brewster Jewellery, Valerie Madison Jewelry, Angely Martinez Jewelry, and ceramicist Marissa Y Alexander, among others—eager to take advantage of the exposure.

“We’ve had a lot of interest,” she says. “I may leave it as an open invitation, or do it every week or month, so it becomes ingrained. We need to move forward.”

@pollywales on Instagram
 @valeriemadisonjewelry takes over the @pollywales feed

Editor’s Note: “The Warmth of Other Suns,” a book I purchased last summer, seems super timely for today. It is a masterfully researched tome on the history of the great African American migration from the South to other parts of the U.S. It’s written by African American author Isabel Wilkerson and looks at why 6 million African Americans relocated out of the South from 1915 to 1970. It is an incredible education on why and how we got to where we are today. I encourage you to read it.

“The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Opinion

A Message from the Editor: We’re Here for You

New York City. March 16, 2020. Greetings, friends. JenniferHeebner.com (JH) and The Jewelry Book (TJB) publisher Nicole Bromstad want you to know that you are not alone. Reach us at Jennifer@jenniferheebner.com or Nicole@thejewelrybook.com if you need a friend.

Single earring in 14k yellow gold with a removable green rutilated quartz, allowing the earring to be worn as a stud with a two-inch dangling chain, $285; by Monaka Jewelry, available online at The Clay Pot

Single earring in 14k yellow gold with a removable green rutilated quartz, allowing the earring to be worn as a stud with a two-inch dangling chain, $285; by Monaka Jewelry, available online at The Clay Pot

JH plans to stay focused on the jewelry and jewelry stories that remind us why our industry is so meaningful. Our content isn’t reliant on trade fairs or public venues, so expect us to continue to reach readers via digital delivery and snail mail (for TJB, our trade content partner). In fact, now may be an even more important time to dive into new collections and the tales behind them in order to maintain a sense of normalcy with a side of glittering escape.

Cleo bracelet in sterling silver with green topaz, $300; by Ed Levin, available online at Von Bargen’s Jewelry

Cleo bracelet in sterling silver with green topaz, $300; by Ed Levin, available online at Von Bargen’s Jewelry

Christmas will still come; jewelry will always be relevant for its beauty, messaging, meaning, economic impact the world over, and ability to connect people—even when social distancing is in effect. Milestones like weddings, promotions, graduations, anniversaries, and more will still happen, and people will continue to look to retailers and designers to provide them with the joy-inducing wearable treasures they love. Jewelry will always play a role in our relationships and lives because it is a special staple to many.

Malachite Tile earrings in 14k yellow gold with malachite and colorless diamonds, $1,280; available online at Emily Kuvin Jewelry

Malachite Tile earrings in 14k yellow gold with malachite and colorless diamonds, $1,280; available online at Emily Kuvin Jewelry

Sea Breeze ring in 14k yellow gold and 14k palladium white gold with a 2.4 ct. emerald, a 0.035 ct. blue diamond, a 0.03 ct. green garnet, and 0.01 ct. diamond, $1,870; email design@k-mita.com at Keiko Mita Jewelry for purchase

Sea Breeze ring in 14k yellow gold and 14k palladium white gold with a 2.4 ct. emerald, a 0.035 ct. blue diamond, a 0.03 ct. green garnet, and 0.01 ct. diamond, $1,870; email design@k-mita.com at Keiko Mita Jewelry for purchase

Jewelry makes people happy, period. During this difficult time, TJB and JH will continue to deliver the jewelry content you crave in an effort to help us move past this temporary situation with grace and calm. Stay calm, stay safe, and stay home if you can. This will all pass and life will return to normal.

Starburst necklace in 18k yellow gold with 34 cts. t.w. blue-green azure-malachite beads and two large cabochon-cut amethysts, $8,500; available online at Daria de Koning Jewelry

Starburst necklace in 18k yellow gold with 34 cts. t.w. blue-green azure-malachite beads and two large cabochon-cut amethysts, $8,500; available online at Daria de Koning Jewelry

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Opinion

Why Mizuki’s Kanzashi Stick Earrings Are the Next Big Jewelry Trend

New York City. Jan. 22, 2020. Mizuki Goltz’s Kanzashi Stick earrings were the highlight of a press preview I attended in the fall of 2019. As the name suggests, Kanzashi Stick earrings are a nod to the kanzashi stick hair ornaments worn by Japanese women for centuries.

For the hair, myriad styles exist. The most prominent are sturdy and tall, with long slender rods that burst forth from buns and updos and boast ornaments that dance like lures for admiring eyes.

In Goltz’s collection, smaller versions for the ears have the same recognizable drama but in miniature form. Pearls and gemstones anchor either end of long, slim gold posts, with fancy stone cuts and fantastical pearl shapes in a permanent seesaw position through the earring hole. The effect is arresting, almost tribal, and definitely a winning look. Why? It’s hard to keep reinventing the earring, but this caricaturized front-to-back style is compelling in appearance while simple enough to actually put on.

Twenty-four versions are evident online, with retail prices starting under $500.

 Single Kanzashi Pearl Drop earring in 18k yellow gold with freshwater pearls, $445; available online at Mizuki

Single Kanzashi Pearl Drop earring in 18k yellow gold with freshwater pearls, $445; available online at Mizuki

Mismatched Kanzashi Stick earring and stud in 18k white gold with white freshwater baroque pearls with 1 ct. t.w. baguette-cut diamonds, $13,900; available online at Mizuki

Mismatched Kanzashi Stick earring and stud in 18k white gold with white freshwater baroque pearls with 1 ct. t.w. baguette-cut diamonds, $13,900; available online at Mizuki

Kanzashi Stick earrings in 18k white gold with Tahitian pearls and 2.46 cts. t.w. baguette-cut diamonds, $28,000; available online at Mizuki

Kanzashi Stick earrings in 18k white gold with Tahitian pearls and 2.46 cts. t.w. baguette-cut diamonds, $28,000; available online at Mizuki


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Opinion

Part II of II: 21 Jewels I Fell For at the 2019 AGTA Spectrum Awards Media Preview

New York City. Aug. 22, 2019. Here are the rest of the jewels I loved from this year’s American Gem Trade Association’s (AGTA) Spectrum & Cutting Edge Awards. I wish I could own them all! Since that’s not possible on a writer’s salary, these shall remain on my permanent wish list.

A Star Is Born ring in 18k white gold with a 10.5 ct. Sri Lankan blue sapphire and 2.73 cts. t.w. diamonds by Benny Hayoun of B & V Diamonds, Inc.
A Star Is Born ring in 18k white gold with a 10.5 ct. Sri Lankan blue sapphire and 2.73 cts. t.w. diamonds by Benny Hayoun of B & V Diamonds, Inc.

A Star Is Born ring in 18k white gold with a 10.5 ct. Sri Lankan blue sapphire and 2.73 cts. t.w. diamonds by Benny Hayoun of B & V Diamonds, Inc., entered into Evening Wear

I’m not a blue person, but it’s hard not to love this giant star-inspired ring! It’s a whimsical design with a soft blue shade that would make a perfect cocktail ring.

Ring in platinum with a 4.2 ct. black opal with emeralds and diamonds by Joel Price

Ring in platinum with a 4.2 ct. black opal with emeralds and diamonds by Joel Price, entered into Business/Day Wear

This opal—OMG!! It packs a visual punch that’s not often seen. I often fall in love with specific stones, and this is definitely one of my new faves.

Pendant necklace in 18k yellow gold with a 20.9 ct. black opal, 1.21 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 0.77 ct. t.w. sapphires by Michael Hezar of Michael John Jewelry

Pendant necklace in 18k yellow gold with a 20.9 ct. black opal, 1.21 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 0.77 ct. t.w. sapphires by Michael Hezar of Michael John Jewelry, entered into Evening Wear

I love the blue-purple colors in this funky pendant piece. It’s got a somewhat 1970s vibe that I would happily groove to often if part of my wardrobe.

Little Lilac ring in platinum with a 1.85 ct. star sapphire and 2.36 cts. t.w. diamonds by Michael Endlich of Pave Fine Jewelry

Little Lilac ring in platinum with a 1.85 ct. star sapphire and 2.36 cts. t.w. diamonds by Michael Endlich of Pave Fine Jewelry, entered into the Classical division and took the Entry Platinum Innovation award in that category This little cutie would make a sweet addition to anyone’s jewelry box! While the star effect is subtle, the almost purple color of the stone makes it intriguing. I’ll take it!

Necklace in 14k yellow gold with 6–13 mm cultured Tahitian pearls with 9 cts. t.w. of black diamonds set into the pearls as geodes by Hisano Shepherd of little h.

Necklace in 14k yellow gold with 6–13 mm cultured Tahitian pearls with 9 cts. t.w. of black diamonds set into the pearls as geodes by Hisano Shepherd of little h., entered into Business/Day Wear

This necklace is incredible! It was hard for me to capture on an iPhone, but Hisano’s professional shot does a fine job. She has a matching pair of earrings that took a Gem Diva award in this category, but I appreciate this necklace for the look and the time it took to create.

Earrings in 18k and 18.5k yellow gold with 12.5 grams of coral and 7.8 grams of turquoise by Sean Gilson for Assael

Earrings in 18k and 18.5k yellow gold with 12.5 grams of coral and 7.8 grams of turquoise by Sean Gilson for Assael, entered into Business/Day Wear and took the Editor’s Choice award Can you say G-R-A-P-H-I-C? These killer fun earrings from the pearl and coral house are beyond covetable! I could see a wide range of generations wanting to own these, all with the commonality of superb taste.

Drop earrings in 14k white and yellow gold with 17.62 cts. t.w. green tourmalines, 3.62 cts. t.w. rainbow moonstones, and blue druzy agate cutouts by Mark Loren

Drop earrings in 14k white and yellow gold with 17.62 cts. t.w. green tourmalines, 3.62 cts. t.w. rainbow moonstones, and blue druzy agate cutouts by Mark Loren, entered into Business/Day Wear

I clearly have a thing for Mark Loren designs and druzy! I just love the understated sparkle of druzy, and I appreciate the long gem silhouettes with which Mark often works.

Pendant in 18k yellow gold with a 5.24 ct. Paraiba tourmaline, 2.24 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 0.88 ct. t.w. Paraiba tourmalines by Erica Courtney

Pendant in 18k yellow gold with a 5.24 ct. Paraiba tourmaline, 2.24 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 0.88 ct. t.w. Paraiba tourmalines by Erica Courtney, entered into Bridal Wear

Erica nabbed two awards in other categories, but this piece was my fave of her entries. Paraiba is so hard to obtain now, so these little cabs are downright yummy and rare.

Earrings in 18k white gold with 70.61 cts. t.w. colorless topaz, 4.81 cts. Paraiba tourmaline, and 1.55 cts. t.w. diamonds by Nin Zaridze of NZR Jewelry

Earrings in 18k white gold with 70.61 cts. t.w. colorless topaz, 4.81 cts. Paraiba tourmaline, and 1.55 cts. t.w. diamonds by Nin Zaridze of NZR Jewelry, Inc., entered into Business/Day Wear

These massive earrings are delish! I love the pairing of topaz, a common stone, with Paraiba, a rare and super-precious one!

Pendant necklace in 18k white gold with a 49.80 ct. boulder opal, 3.77 cts. t.w. blue sapphires, 3.11 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets, and 1.12 cts. t.w. diamonds by Tanja Schuetz of DuftyWeis Opals, Inc.

Pendant necklace in 18k white gold with a 49.80 ct. boulder opal, 3.77 cts. t.w. blue sapphires, 3.11 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets, and 1.12 cts. t.w. diamonds by Tanja Schuetz of DuftyWeis Opals, Inc., entered into Evening Wear and took First Place in that division

Drop. Dead. Gorgeous!!! The opal is phenomenal, so the design needn’t be complicated. I love the feather motif; it gracefully celebrates the beauty of the center stone.


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