Black History Month may be over, but our support for community talent goes way beyond those 28 days. There has been an influx of black jewelry designers, in particular, who have ventured onto the scene – and the industry needs more than a month to shine a light on them all. Changing the landscape of fine jewelry as we know it, they are all in the business of creating quality heirloom pieces that are meant to be passed down from generation to generation.
On the short list of brands straying from jewelry industry norms, names like Brooklyn-based Bernard James and Omi Woods are near the top. The likes of jeweler and designer Trecy Bleich are experimenting with new materials and nostalgic silhouettes that will work well in your everyday lineup. For something personalized, you can’t go wrong with Maggi Simpkins – the talent behind Sotheby’s million dollar ring – and many other bespoke pieces. Read ahead for a breakdown of all 15 black-owned jewelry brands on the market that are striving to change the narrative surrounding fine jewelry, plus purchasable options for your viewing pleasure.
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Brooklyn-based designer Bernard James is dedicated to creating new-age heirlooms for the next generation. Each piece is handmade locally in New York City and exudes an air of luxury that makes it both a great everyday accessory and a work of art for your personal archive. Standout styles include the brand’s nature-inspired “Flora” collection and chain-link pieces that have everything it takes to become your new signature staples.
Macro Link Bracelet
Mixed metals have never looked so chic.
As the name suggests, Omi Woods is inspired by the Jamaican-Ashanti-Indigenous-Maroon heritage of founder Ashley Alexis McFarlene. (“Omi” means “water” in Yoruba). The label offers pieces intended to be collected and possibly transmitted through your lineage. Made from solid gold from small artisanal mines, Omi Woods focuses on fair wages and production techniques that have minimal impact on the environment.
The Ethiopian Coptic cross necklace
It is ideal for layering with similar chain pendants.
For those unfamiliar with Mateo’s chic minimalist designs, it’s time to get acquainted. The Jamaican-born designer and son of a seamstress creates exquisite jewelry inspired by clean, crisp lines and modern art. Using precious metals, diamonds and other precious stones, the collections are meant to be both accessible and elevated.
14KT Small Pearl Dots Hoops
Certainly not your grandmother’s pearls.
Talley and twine
Watch brand Talley & Twine operates outside industry standards. Creating accessible yet competitive designs that can be worn everyday, the brand aims to inspire members of the community and pay homage to its roots. (It is named after an intersection in the founder’s hometown in Virginia).
5.0 stars 25 Reviews Mother of pearl
For your ever-growing watch collection.
Made by Malyia
You might recognize the Made by Malyia name from the brand’s ornate partnership with the Natural Diamond Council and campaign star Ana de Armas. But designer Malyia McNaughton is revered among her fans for her more accessible spiral earrings that were everywhere, including on Isa Rae during HBO shows. Unsafe Course. Other notable pieces include a coordinating spiral ring and one of the ornate items from her collection with the NDC.
As seen on Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid, Ten Wilde offers everyday options reminiscent of high jewelry collections, making her perfect for testing out a trend before fully committing. Yellow gold enthusiasts will appreciate the brand’s use of the classic metal throughout its range. Founded in 2016 by Tenisha Wilde, the brand is a direct reflection of her personal style.
Marquise Charm Choker
Balance your most ornate pieces with the Marquise Charm Choker from Ten Wilde.
Trecy Bleich Jewelry
What sets Trecy Bleich’s jewelry apart from the pack? His use of unexpected materials and almost Tetris designs. Colorful yet minimalist, playful pieces are perfect for those with a more streamlined aesthetic. Plus, they look just as good stacked with similar styles as they do when worn alone.
Leona hangs (long)
Drop earrings for all kinds of occasions.
Founded by Lauren Harwell Godfrey, the brand is all about beautiful pieces that hold sentimental value. Each piece is crafted from precious metals, vivid enamel and geometric etchings inspired by the designer’s extensive collection of vintage African textiles. Some of the brand’s star pieces include pearl and stone necklaces with gold pendants.
Multi-stone necklace in 18 carat gold
We dream in color
Skillfully crafted and a little over the top, We Dream In Colour’s nature-inspired designs are a tribute to founder Jade Gedeon’s Caribbean roots. The brand wants customers to feel like they’re sifting through the best finds at an estate sale every time they open their jewelry box. Color not really your thing? There are plenty of all-gold options as well.
Laelia Small Orchid Earrings
Flowers for spring? These actually feel revolutionary.
Almasika is a world brand. Founded in London by Catherine Sarr, launched in Paris and based in Chicago, the artful line embraces global traditions and uses universal symbols that cross cultures. Her curvy pieces have been seen on the likes of Lizzo, Alicia Keys and Reese Witherspoon, to name a few.
Stella Wisdom Bracelet
For your stacking pleasure.
If you’re a fan of asymmetrical jewelry, Only Made is the New York-based brand that deserves to be on your radar. From colorful resin earrings to pearl name necklaces and everything in between, the brand is further proof that fine jewelry can be as fun as it is chic and refined. (Worth mentioning that it just expanded to handbags, t00.)
Bright colors bring 80s glamour.
Lauren Newton is a zoologist-turned-jewelry designer from Brooklyn whose eponymous brand focuses on edgy details. Inspired by her scientific training, the creation is centered on self-expression and the influence of nature. Popular styles include kitschy gold charms and agate-inspired tabs to create a personalized necklace.
Charm necklace with gemstone tab
Invest in multiple tab charms for an interchangeable look.
“When I started BEN ŎNI, my main inspiration was just to become a business owner,” founder Ashley Newman explained of the brand’s origins. “Going into entrepreneurship, I only knew two things for sure: that I wanted my own business and that I love jewelry enough to talk about it on a daily basis.” The brand makes minimal pieces for your everyday range that can be mixed and matched, depending on your personal preference.
Raise the bar for your signet ring collection with the Karis ring from Ben Oni.
Khadijah Fulton, a former student of Parson, founded White Space to offer accessible yet distinct designs that are meant to be cherished for years to come. The Los Angeles-based brand puts a modern spin on classic pieces that will last in your fine jewelry arsenal.
Pearl Moon half-hoops, pink
These hoops are a game changer.
Fine jewelry has a reputation for containing clean lines and sharp edges, but Dan-Yell’s designs are the epitome of the imperfectly perfect. Delicate and modest with tactile finishes, the collections offer a subtle nod to the past, making each piece both timeless and current. Founded by Danyell Rascoe in Brooklyn, the line is made entirely of 10k gold and sterling silver for longevity.
Luar Ruby Hoop Earrings
Your listener just got a little more interesting.
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