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Black in Jewelry Coalition Kicks-off Jewelry-Focused High School Program

BIJC works with Jewelers Mutual Group and the Brooklyn STEAM Center to help cultivate the jewelry trade for future generations.




Black in Jewelry Coalition Kicks-off Jewelry-Focused High School Program
Pictured above is Frank Fraley teaching the first class at the “The Future Jewelers Academy.”

(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) started its first jewelry-focused education program “The Future Jewelers Academy” at the Brooklyn STEAM Center to prepare students for jewelry and gemology careers. The program, exclusively sponsored by Jewelers Mutual Group, is intended to inspire students and open doors for them in the gem and jewelry industry.

The 2023/2024 curriculum that BIJC developed with the expertise of Professor Frank Fraley, the program’s instructor and a jewelry designer, explores design, gem-setting, materials, and laser repair, while also teaching students the process of casting and molding. Guest speakers in various facets of the industry have been invited to speak with the students.

“Teaching eager students in this program brings me immeasurable joy. Their enthusiasm and passion for learning shine brightly, making every moment in the classroom a rewarding experience unlike any other. In my experience with NYC high school students this class at the Brooklyn Steam Center is unlike most I have encountered, their dedication and curiosity fuel not only their own growth but also inspire me to strive for excellence as an educator,” said Fraley.

BIJC and Jewelers Mutual present the “The Future Jewelers Academy.”

BIJC and Jewelers Mutual present the “The Future Jewelers Academy.”

“Joining forces with the Black in Jewelry Coalition and Brooklyn STEAM Center allows us to extend our 111-year legacy of supporting the jewelry industry by empowering the next generation of jewelers who will shape the industry’s future. We are excited to welcome the young, new talent,” said Scott Murphy, President and Chief Executive Officer at Jewelers Mutual.

Upon completing the program, students will gain a solid foundation in the art of jewelry making and an appreciation for the skill and craftsmanship that goes into creating exquisite jewelry pieces. There will also be a capstone event to display the students’ work and celebrate their completion of the training.


“The scholars at Brooklyn Steam affirm why it is so important to invest in the future of the jewelry industry. They are very engaged and if you sit in a class like I have with them you quickly recognize these students are eager to learn and grow. It is truly an honor to witness the next generation of the jewelry industry develop right before my eyes”, observes Malyia McNaughton, BIJC chairman and founder of Made By Malyia.

Whether students decide to pursue a career in the industry or simply enjoy it as a rewarding hobby, this experience will equip them with the necessary skills to craft one-of-a-kind creations. For more information about the “The Future Jewelers Academy,” visit



She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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