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Ben Bridge Jeweler Celebrates Diversity With Meaningful Window Displays

Sale of artwork benefits Black in Jewelry Coalition.

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Ben Bridge Jeweler window installations celebrating love, unity and diversity
Prints of the painting along with art deco style rainbows are focal points for Ben Bridge Jeweler window installations celebrating love, unity and diversity this summer.
Lisa Bridge

Lisa Bridge

STORE WINDOW DISPLAYS at Ben Bridge Jeweler’s 35 West Coast locations are awash in vibrant color this summer to celebrate and encourage love, unity and diversity.

The focal point of the windows are images of a painting of a goddess by Seattle artist Aramis Hamer.

Limited edition prints of the painting are being sold, with profits directly benefiting the Black in Jewelry Coalition, a group established in 2020 that’s working for the advancement of BIPOC professionals within the gem, jewelry and watch industry.

“We’re very, very excited by the Black in Jewelry Coalition’s growth and the impact that they will make in the jewelry industry,” says Lisa Bridge, CEO of Ben Bridge Jeweler and a member of the board of advisers for the coalition.

“Over the last year, we’ve done a lot of soul searching,” she says. “Although we have deep values of inclusion and equity, we realized there’s more that we need to do and more that we can do. We’re excited to be able to support that in a visual way throughout our stores.”

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The 24-by-36-inch art piece takes its inspiration from a Black Lives Matter mural in Seattle’s Capitol Hill area, to which Hamer contributed. The painting features a goddess wearing a pair of Ben Bridge Toscano Italian gold earrings, a yellow gold chain and a pearl strand. In the window installations, she’s accompanied by an art deco rainbow celebrating pride as well as diversity, love and community. The limited edition 12-by-18-inch prints are available on Hamer’s website, aohamer.com/online-shop/bbj, for $70. At the end of the summer, Ben Bridge will donate the original work of art as well.

Ben Bridge has also, in conjunction with the Black in Jewelry Coalition, funded and awarded a full GIA scholarship to aspiring gemologist Natacha Metayer in honor of a long-term Ben Bridge associate and AGS registered jeweler Lonia Tate. Tate served as the first Black president of the Seattle chapter of Executive Women International. The scholarship is open to U.S. residents 18 or older who are American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Asian-American, Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander.

Ben Bridge Jeweler Celebrates Diversity With Meaningful Window Displays

Ben Bridge Jeweler commissioned this work of art by Aramis Hamer depicting a goddess wearing fine jewelry.

Ben Bridge is looking inward, too, by engaging in open discussion within the team about inclusivity. “During the first couple of sessions, being able to hear from our associates within our organization and in the greater world, we were really moved by what people were willing to share and what they expressed,” Bridge says. “But this is more than a moment and more than one conversation.”

Change begins with awareness and education. “Being vulnerable and challenging our own assumptions can be hard or scary, but it’s really very important,” Bridge says.

One obvious priority for jewelry retailers is to evaluate hiring practices. “We have to look at where we are finding candidates, how we are screening candidates and what would be barriers to bringing in a diverse pool of candidates,” Bridge says. “Are there other ways we should be doing this? Other places that people might see a job ad? Are there different communities that want to be engaged?”

Bridge says that doing the right thing has always been its own reward for Ben Bridge Jeweler, but customers today expect the businesses they patronize to spell out their values.

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“They vote with their checkbook,” she says. “So, bringing forward conversations about sourcing and ethics and our values are more important than ever. In the past, we could assume that people knew it and it was good enough that we did it. The expectation today is that we need to tell those stories and to share them in ways that are authentic to who we are.”

For more information about the Black in Jewelry Coalition, visit blackinjewelry.org.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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