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Lorraine Schwartz Initiative Names First Participants

Mar 25, 2021 5:45 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) and celebrity jeweler Lorraine Schwartz have selected the first six designers who will be awarded a spot in the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative.

The designers — all from the Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) community — were selected by a committee including Schwartz; NDC CEO David Kellie; Nicole Chapoteau, the fashion director of Vanity Fair; and celebrity stylist and designer Jason Rembert. Each will receive $20,000 in credit to finance diamond purchases, as well as mentorship to help them gain entry to diamond vendors and build and expand their businesses, the NDC said Wednesday.

The NDC has allotted $1 million in total for the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until the money has been depleted.

The first group of designers comprises:

Constance Polamalu of Birthright Foundry, an American Samoan and first-generation jewelry designer based in Annapolis, Maryland.

Dorian Webb, a Black designer and founder of her eponymous company. She makes handcrafted jewelry using Murano glass and semiprecious gems, carried by Neiman Marcus and other high-end retailers.

Lisette Scott, a designer of Jamaican and Puerto Rican descent. She founded Jam + Rico (Jamaica + Puerto Rico), which features Caribbean jewelry designs.

Malyia McNaughton, owner of Made by Malyia and treasurer of the Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC), who draws inspiration from New York City architecture, African culture, Indigenous tribal adornment and nature.

Marvin Linares of Marvin Douglas Jewelry, from an El Salvadorian family. He previously worked in sales for Tiffany & Co., and as a jewelry specialist for Dover Street Market in Los Angeles. His jewelry has been worn on the Grammy red carpet, as well as at Super Bowl half-time performances.

Jameel Mohammed, the founder of Afrofuturist luxury brand Khiry, which uses the conventions of luxury fashion to make pointed statements about the value of Black life and culture. 

Image: A diamond in tweezers. (Natural Diamond Council)
Tags: BIJC, BIPOC, Birthright Foundry, Black in Jewelry Coalition, Constance Polamalu, David Kellie, Dorian Webb, Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative, Jam + Rico, Jameel Mohammed, Jason Rembert, KHIRY, Lisette Scott, Lorraine Schwartz, Made by Malyia, Malyia McNaughton, Marvin Douglas Jewelry, Marvin Linares, Natural Diamond Council, NDC, Nicole Chapoteau, Rapaport News, Tiffany & Co
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