Designers / Industry

Black in Jewelry Coalition Announces New President, Board Members


The Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) has a new president: jewelry designer Malyia McNaughton, who had been treasurer of the New York–based organization dedicated to the advancement of Black professionals within the gem, jewelry, and watch trades.

On Dec. 18, BIJC also announced three new members of its board of directors for 2024: Jeffery Bolling, district manager at Signet Jewelers; Thomas Davis, director of business development at Select Jewelry; and Pat Dambe, director of marketing and brand development in Botswana’s Ministry of Minerals and Energy. These three individuals collectively bring more than half a century of jewelry and business experience to the BIJC board.

McNaughton told JCK: “I am both thrilled and honored to be the incoming Board President of Black in Jewelry Coalition. Annie Doresca has led BIJC as a phenomenal Board President over the last three years. I plan to continue to push the organization and industry forward with the support of the BIJC board.”

Annie Doresca, who has been serving as BIJC board president, will become treasurer. Doresca—the chief financial officer at Jewelers of America—and McNaughton are cofounders of BIJC along with seven other board members.

Doresca said in a statement that she has been “deeply grateful” for the BIJC team during her tenure as president. “Together, we have achieved significant milestones in promoting diversity and equity within the jewelry industry,” she said. “I look forward to witnessing and being a part of BIJC’s continued growth under the exceptional leadership of Malyia. With her at the helm, I am confident that BIJC will reach new heights, making an even greater impact on our industry.”

BIJC board
New members of the Black in Jewelry Coalition board of directors members are (from left) Jeffery Bolling, Pat Dambe, and Thomas Davis.

McNaughton, a GIA Graduate Gemologist, is the founder of Made by Malyia, a Brooklyn-based fine jewelry brand, and a member of the original cohort of the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative, a program created in January 2021 by the Natural Diamond Council and jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz.

McNaughton also worked with the Natural Diamond Council on its global jewelry ad campaign featuring actress Ana de Armas. Additionally, McNaughton designed 16 pieces for the Banter by Piercing Pagoda x Tierra Whack capsule collection featured in Banter’s stores nationwide.

BIJC cofounders who will continue as board members are:

• BIJC vice president Elyssa Jenkins-Pérez, director of membership and marketing at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee,
• BIJC secretary Lisa Jones, vice president of human resources at GIA
• communications chair Nellie Barnett, GIA manager of corporate communications
• nominations chair Reginald Johnson, chief diversity officer and senior VP in human resources at Signet Jewelers
• education chair Adrianne Sanogo, GIA Graduate Gemologist and educator
Miya Owens, corporate counsel at Amazon
Lisette Scott, founder of Jam + Rico jewelry brand.

In a statement, the BIJC said its 2024 board of directors is “prepared to guide BIJC towards a future marked by increased inclusivity, educational initiatives, and advocacy” for its members and Black professionals within the jewelry sector.

BIJC was founded in October 2020 to offer networking, education, representation, and resources. It aims to promote change within the industry and to partner with other groups, individuals, and companies to expand opportunities for Black professionals in gems, jewelry, and watches.

In its first years, BIJC focused on developing scholarship and mentorship programs. The group worked with Seattle-based retailer Ben Bridge to create the Lonia Tate Scholarship, which supports a BIJC member in the Graduate Gemologist program at GIA. The organization also partnered with GIA for a distance education scholarship and, with help from Jewelers Mutual, introduced the Radiant Minds business technology scholarship for women of color.

BIJC established grants with industry associations such as the American Gem Society to send its members to key events, such as the 2022 AGS Conclave in Louisville, Ky. Members also came together to represent BIJC at the 2022 and 2023 JCK and Couture shows in Las Vegas. The coalition has hosted events during NYC Jewelry Week, including Under the Faceted Sky in November 2022 and the Rock the Jewels awards in November 2023.

Recently, BIJC joined forces with the Natural Diamond Council to create the first-ever jewelry education program in a New York State public school. The pilot program, set to begin in fall 2024 at Baldwin High School on Long Island, will explore each sector of the jewelry industry from the bench to design to retail.

Top: Malyia McNaughton will serve as the Black In Jewelry Coalition’s president for 2024. (Photos courtesy of the Black In Jewelry Coalition)

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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