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Black in Jewelry Coalition Starts 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.




(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — Black in Jewelry Coalition announced its plans for a new jewelry-focused education program to prepare high school students for jewelry and gemologist careers, with exclusive sponsorship by Jewelers Mutual Group. In recognition of the national shortage of bench jewelers, Black in Jewelry Coalition has collaborated with the Brooklyn STEAM Center to develop a curriculum for the 2023/24 school year on gem-setting and laser repair, while also exposing students to casting and molding. The shared vision is to inspire students and open doors for them in the captivating world of the gem and jewelry industry.

“Our collective goal is to make it known that these jobs exist and there’s a real need for new bench jeweler talent in the industry,” said Annie Doresca, Black in Jewelry Coalition president. “Jewelers Mutual’s support helps open up a new world of possibilities for students from all walks of life to fabricate their own unique designs in a studio into stunning, wearable works of art.”

With industry allies like Jewelers Mutual, Black in Jewelry Coalition continues to develop opportunities for jewelry professionals and up-and-coming jewelers to expand their knowledge and skillsets. Through Jewelers Mutual’s sponsorship of the newest bench jeweler program, students will gain knowledge about the diverse materials used in jewelry making, such as precious metals and gemstones, and learn the art of manipulating them. At the end of the program there will be a capstone event to display the students’ work and celebrate their completion of the training.

“We are incredibly proud of our 110-year legacy of support to the jewelry industry, and we are excited about this opportunity to join with the Black in Jewelry Coalition and Brooklyn STEAM Center to make a positive impact on the industry and the next generation of jewelers,” said Mike Alexander, chief operating 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. Whether they 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.

Black in Jewelry Coalition will host some of the Brooklyn STEAM Center’s current programs, starting in October, and host the full bench jeweler program in the spring. For more information on the program, visit here.

About Black in Jewelry Coalition

Black in Jewelry Coalition strives for the advancement of Black professionals within the gem, jewelry, and watch industry through networking, education, representation and an abundance of resources. We promote change in our industry with the fundamental understanding that by uniting our resources and partnering with allies, we cultivate growth and create opportunities through an alliance that is for us, by us. Our strategies include providing tools and resources for professional success and growth, and recruitment for increased representation through heightened awareness. To learn more, visit

About Jewelers Mutual Group

Jewelers Mutual was founded in 1913 by a group of Wisconsin jewelers to meet their unique insurance needs. Later, consumers began putting their trust in Jewelers Mutual to protect their jewelry and the special memories each piece holds. Today, Jewelers Mutual continues to support and move the industry forward by listening to jewelers and consumers and offering products and services to meet their evolving needs. Beyond insurance, Jewelers Mutual’s powerful suite of innovative solutions and digital technology offerings help jewelers strengthen and grow their businesses, mitigate risk, and bring them closer to their customers. The Group insurers’ strong financial position is reflected in their 36 consecutive “A+ Superior” ratings from AM Best Company, as of November 2022. Policyholders of the Group insurers are members of Jewelers Mutual Holding Company. Jewelers Mutual is headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, with other Group offices in Dallas, Texas and Miami, Florida. To learn more, visit



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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