Diversity & Design
June 3, 2021

In jewellery, as in fashion, cultural diversity, gender diversity and socio-economic diversity broaden and enrich the product range, providing a greater number of touch points with which the contemporary consumer is able to connect.

But while the concept of diversity is almost universally applauded in the jewellery trade, there are a battery of systemic obstacles that make it difficult for young designers to break into the business. The cost of raw materials, stringent credit criteria, risk-averse retailers and more all mean that the independent young jeweller may struggle to obtain a foothold, and the task is often even tougher if he or she is from a group that is not mainstream.

The promise that greater industry diversity offers jewellery design, the systemic difficulties faced by newcomers and the strategies required to remedy them will be discussed during the next Jewellery Industry Voices webinar. Entitled “Diversity & Design,” it took place on Thursday, June 3, 2021.

The panel that was gathered to discuss the topic included three young jewellery designers and two of the industry gatekeepers who are working to ease their entry into the business. The designers are Marvin Linares, owner of Los Angeles-based Marvin Douglas Jewelry, who explores his Latino heritage and experience through fine jewellery; Constance Polamalu, a first-generation American Samoan designer whose Birthright Foundry in Annapolis, Maryland, celebrates under-represented cultures, starting with her own Polynesian heritage; and Melanie Eddy, a London-based designer of Caribbean background, who is actively involved in initiatives promoting diversity in the jewellery industry. Representing the industry gatekeepers were Susan Jacques, President and CEO of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and former President and CEO of Borsheim’s Fine Jewelry and Gifts, one of the United States’ leading jewellery chains; and Elizabeth von der Goltz, Chief Commercial Officer at online fashion retailer MATCHESFASHION, who previously was the Global Buying Director of Yoox Net-a-Porter.

Natural Diamond Council CEO David Kellie addressed webinar participants, as did Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President. The webinar was co-moderated by Edward Johnson and Steven Benson.



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Jewellery Industry Voices

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