New York, NY—The first diamond jewelry collections from the Emerging Designer Diamond Initiative (EDDI), a partnership between the Natural Diamond Council (NDC) and jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz, will be sold online in a designated trunk show on luxury fashion site Moda Operandi. The online trunk show launched October 15 and ends November 14. Image: ‘Made By Malyia’ 18k yellow gold Soleil pendant, $3,800.
The EDDI program was created to build a more equitable future for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) jewelry designers by providing opportunities, removing barriers to entry, and offering unparalleled access to industry education and resources for emerging. It launched in January 2021 with $1 million dollars of diamond credit for designers of color.
2021 participating designers received a $20,000 diamond credit at cost, retail opportunities and selling support, press opportunities, diamond education, funding for production, CADs, and sampling as well as in-depth mentorship alongside industry experts.
Jameel Mohammed of KHIRY, Dorian Webb, Constance Polamalu of Birthright Foundry, Marvin Linares of Marvin Douglas Jewelry, Malyia McNaughton of Made by Malyia, and Lisette Scott of Jam + Rico were the inaugural grantees of the EDDI program. Under the stewardship of NDC experts, Lorraine Schwartz, and premium retailers, they produced diamond jewelry collections in cohesion with their unique brand voices and aesthetics while receiving commercial feedback and guidance from mentors.
Dorian Webb 18k yellow gold baguette hoops, $8,125.
Throughout the course of the program, NDC utilized key learnings to expand the program, adding a grant to support design expenses and financing key elements of the production process such as CAD development and sampling. Additionally, each designer was paired with a diamantaire to establish a line of credit in their own name and personally selected diamonds that spoke to them in varying cuts, colors, and shapes. For several of the designers, this was their first-time utilizing diamonds in their collections.
“The Natural Diamond Council is incredibly proud of what the first group of designers in the EDDI program have accomplished in their first year. They have achieved exciting milestones such as appearances on the MET Gala red carpet, designing a custom collection for our most recent global advertising campaign featuring Ana de Armas, and partnering with best-in-class production partners to bring diamond jewelry collections to life.
“We set out to listen and learn, crystallizing a structured program step by step, growing from challenges and celebrating successes along the way. We are thrilled to have Moda Operandi appreciate the value of these designers and partner with us to create more space for designers of color in the diamond industry,” said David Kellie, CEO of the Natural Diamond Council.
“The EDDI initiative has provided new opportunities and valuable resources to help open the door for BIPOC designers within fine jewelry which can take years to gain access to. Their hard work and passion, paired with EDDI’s mentorship, is helping to prepare and position these talented designers to be at the forefront of today’s jewelry market. I hope to see each of the designers pay it forward by educating their communities about the industry and its opportunities,” said Schwartz.
April Hennig, chief merchandising officer of Moda Operandi added, "Moda Operandi is proud to partner with the NDC and Lorraine Schwartz. We as a company are committed to diversity and inclusion in the industry and doing our part to ensure a more equitable future in all categories."
NDC and Lorraine Schwartz also announced the next class of designer grantees: Casey Perez, Corey Anthony Jones, Lana Ogilvie, Mckenzie Liautaud, Ruben Manuel, and Heart The Stones, founded by Halle Millien.