As established in 2020, August is officially Black Business Month. Created to inspire awareness of and support for Black-owned businesses across all sectors, we think it’s a great excuse to buy jewelry from any number of extremely talented Black jewelry designers (as if we needed an excuse!). While we’re happy to take direction from Essence, Cosmopolitan or New York Magazine, all of whom mentioned some of our favorite Black talents, we also wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a jewelry industry organization who has been continually working behind-the-scenes to promote greater equity, diversity and inclusion in our industry, thereby expanding the roster of Black talent available in the market—Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC). You can find their list of “Shop Black Owned” businesses here.
Founded in August of 2020, during that summer’s social awakening, BIJC is committed to finding ways to end systemic racism and improve diversity and inclusion in our industry. According to a statement from the organization, “We promote change in our industry with the fundamental understanding that by uniting our resources and partnering with allies, we cultivate growth and create opportunities through an alliance that is for us, by us.” In addition to providing tools and resources to promote professional success and vitality, the organization also focuses on recruitment in order to increase representation of Black professionals in our industry.
Recognizing that the ecosystem of the fine jewelry industry is vast, BIJC is unique in having representation from every sector of the industry on their Board of Directors or Advisory Board. It is also international, with its board and/or committee members hailing from across the globe. While the organization’s initiatives may sound lofty, as the quote from James Baldwin on their website reads, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
BIJC offers a slate of benefits for members, including a consumer-facing directory, access to funding and resources, networking events, educational webinars and exclusive scholarships and internships for students. They have also set their sights on closing the pay gap for BIPOC in the industry and nurturing senior leadership within their communities and are developing programming to that end. Their second annual “Together by Design” competition is also helping to raise awareness and “celebrates Black designers and encourages more representation of Black love in the jewelry and bridal industry.” Click here for more information.
BIJC is supported by a number of individuals and companies within the industry, including Emerald, the company that owns JA New York, COUTURE and U.S. Antique Shows. To learn more about becoming a member of BIJC, click here.