At the start of the year, the Natural Diamond Council teamed up with Lorraine Schwartz to launch the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative, a program supporting emerging designers of color; the first collections have been unveiled online today in a designated trunk show on Moda Operandi.
The EDDI program launched with $1 million dollars of diamond credit and was created to build a more equitable future for the diamond jewelry industry by providing opportunities, removing barriers to entry, and offering access to industry education and resources.
The inaugural class of designers included Jameel Mohammed of Khiry; Dorian Webb, Constance Polamalu of Birthright Foundry; Marvin Douglas Linares of Marvin Douglas Jewelry; Malyia McNaughton of Made by Malyia, and Lisette Scott of Jam + Ricowere. Each 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.
“The Natural Diamond Council is incredibly proud of what the first group of designers in the EDDI program have accomplished in their first year,” said David Kellie, chief executive officer of the NDC. “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.”
“From the onset, Natural Diamond Council wanted to ensure a dynamic environment that allowed for a flow of communication between our organization and the designers. We set out to listen and learn, crystallizing a structured program step by step, growing from challenges and celebrating successes along the way,” the CEO continued. “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.”
On the heel of the debut collections being made available for sale, the NDC and Schwartz have chosen the next class of creators: CaseyPerez, Corey Anthony Jones, Heart the Stones, founded by Halle Millien, Lana Ogilvie, Mckenzie Liautaud and Ruben Manuel.
The EDDI program will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis until the $1 million credit runs out.