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NDC and Lorraine Schwartz Unveil 2023 Class of Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative Participants

This the third group of design participants since the program’s inception in 2021.




Top row from left to right: Bernard James, Amina Sorel, Kristina Buckley Kayel (NDC) Bottom row from left to right: Symoné Currie, Jessenia Landrum, Gwen Beloti, Rosario Navia.PHOTO CREDIT: ANDREW WERNER

(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) and celebrated jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz are delighted to share the newest group of participants in the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative (EDDI). This the third group of design participants since the program’s inception in 2021. The six 2023 grantees include:

  • Amina Sorel Fine Jewelry by Amina Sorel explores the intersectionality of arts, culture, and jewelry inspired by her travels throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Caribbean
  • Bernard James Jewelry by Bernard James was founded on the belief of finding the beauty in everything, emphasizing values of quality and authenticity to create unique fine jewelry pieces to foster conversation and provoke thought
  • Gwen Beloti Collection, founded by Gwen Beloti, is a women’s fine jewelry line that emphasizes accessibility and size inclusivity to empower women every day for any occasion
  • Jessenia Landrum’s brand Jevela is thoughtful jewelry inspired by one’s journey and connects people and their experiences through creative storytelling and design
  • Rosario Navia’s eponymous brand showcases a signature aspirational yet effortless style that combines modern and unexpected silhouettes inspired by the strong Latina women who have shaped her
  • Metal x Wire by Symoné Currie is fine jewelry made for all genders and gender expressions that push the boundaries of contemporary design by carefully balancing elegance and edge, inspired by the designer’s architectural engineering background

The EDDI program, whose first two classes featured designers such as Jameel Mohammed of KHIRY, Constance Polamalu of Birthright Foundry, Malyia McNaughton of Made by Malyia, Corey Anthony Jones of Gaudy Atelier, Mckenzie Liautaud of Mckenzie Liautaud Jewelry, and several others launched in January 2021 with $1 million dollars of diamond credit dedicated to supporting emerging Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) jewelry designers. The initiative was created to build a more equitable future for the diamond jewelry industry by providing opportunities, removing barriers to entry, and offering unparalleled access to industry education and resources in an effort to broaden design innovation with new perspectives and stories.

Under the stewardship of the NDC and Lorraine Schwartz, designers receive a $20,000 diamond credit at cost, retail opportunities, selling support, press opportunities, and diamond education. In addition, monetary funds for production, CADs, and sampling are provided to eliminate upfront costs to each designer. Designers are individually paired with industry mentors of their choosing for in-depth and real-time knowledge. Designers are also partnered with diamantaires to establish a line of industry diamond credit in their own names to personally select diamonds that speak to them in varying cuts, colors, and shapes.

“We are thrilled to partner with the next inspiring group of jewelry designers as part of the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative,” says Kristina Buckley Kayel, managing director of Natural Diamond Council. “The program continues to evolve and yield transformative outcomes for the designers. We are incredibly proud and committed to provide these designers of color with all the tools and mentorship they need to achieve successful and sustainable businesses.”

“Congratulations to the new class of designers. I look forward to seeing their creativity come to life, and I am so excited to see where it leads them to. It’s been great to work with so many talented emerging designers over the past two years, and inspiring as well,” says Lorraine Schwartz.

All six designers will design a diamond jewelry capsule collection as part of the initiative to debut within 2023.


The designers will also be present at this year’s Luxury by JCK Show, taking place May 31 – June 5 in Las Vegas. To date, the two previous classes saw their jewelry collections sold on Moda Operandi, 1stDibs, Gemist, and at Greenwich Street Jewelers in New York City.

The initiative will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis until the $1 million credit runs out. Jewelry designers within the BIPOC community are encouraged to apply here.



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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