Diamonds / Industry

Rock On: Emerging Designers Shine At Greenwich St. Jewelers


For designer Dorian Webb, jewelry is about contrast and creating intrigue and complexity. Take her diamond baguette hoop earrings as an example. To the jeweler’s eye, they are 18k yellow gold hoop earrings with diamond baguettes and hinged clasps.

For Webb, one of five members of the inaugural Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative (EDDI) class, these hoops are like musical notes, a visual cacophony that compels movement. Hoops are a key part of her Quality || Equality collection, which she says dreams of a time when everyone is seen and heard equally.

“The left and right earrings both have their own distinctive placement of diamonds to give a sense of rhythm and movement,” Webb says. “Together, they form a visual call-and-response dynamic that is inspired by the lilting polyrhythms often found in African American dance, music, and art.”

Hoops also reflect who she is, conveying her African American heritage through her unique take on this classic design. Her hoops are a kind of signature: One pair even graced the ears of former first lady Michelle Obama. As Webb puts it, “Hair up, hoops down, ready to rule the day!”

If you want the diamond baguette version, you have to go to Greenwich St. Jewelers, the boutique that has made the EDDI designers not only the stars of its website but has an exclusive collection with Webb, Birthright Foundry, Jam + Rico, Made by Malyia, and Marvin Douglas Jewelry.

Marvin Douglas
Marvin Douglas seeks to bring a sense of play and texture to his jewelry. His beach-inspired pendants above, now on display at Greenwich St. Jewelers, are an example of that. Top: Playón  diamond pendant, $7,000; bottom: Medio del Desierto diamond pendant necklace, $8,700. 

This kind of dynamic—blending diamonds, beauty, and meaning—is what makes these five EDDI collections so intriguing. Each reflects the aesthetic of the individual designer yet also holds together as a collective, a group of storytellers who want to share their ancestral history and places they love with those who wear their designs.

Greenwich St. Jewelers owners and sisters Jennifer Gandia and Christina Gandia Gambale say they felt compelled to serve as the exclusive retailer for the EDDI program. Launched by Lorraine Schwartz x the Natural Diamond Council in January 2021, EDDI provided $1 million dollars of diamond credit and support to emerging BIPOC jewelry designers.

“Equity and diversity in jewelry enriches and strengthens the industry, making it more exciting and resonant for jewelry lovers everywhere,” Gandia Gambale says. “The EDDI project is a natural extension of our years-long effort to build a brand that celebrates the work of fine jewelry designers from a diverse array of backgrounds and aesthetics.”

For Marvin Douglas Linares, his G.St collection “embodies home and heritage,” he says. His work aims to explore his Latin heritage through his history in El Salvador and his life in the United States, bringing a sense of curiosity, creativity, and craftsmanship to his work.

Take his Playón diamond pendant necklace as an example. The placement of the diamonds on the tag-shaped pendant is like the scattered grains of sand on a beach, something that’s familiar to everyone yet new when looked at in this context, he says. He used brown, yellow, and white diamonds to create these sandy tones and to make it look worn, like the Mayan ruins in Central America.

Birthright Foundry
American Samoan designer Constance Polamalu created Birthright Foundry to bring her culture to fine jewelry. Her Nifo pendant resembles a whale’s tooth in 18k yellow gold ($5,250).

Constance Polamalu, the designer behind Birthright Foundry, is an American Samoan first-generation jeweler—and a new mom. She created her luxury brand to highlight her culture, using her Polynesian heritage as the inspiration, she says.

Polamalu says her ideas came as she found images and information about her Samoan past, something she dived deeply into during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This early collection is about exploring modern ideas of familial wealth, legacy, and wearable beauty as one,” she says. “I am inspired by the traditional clothing and art forms of Samoa and am obsessive about putting a minimalist twist on the culture.”

Top: Dorian Webb designed her diamond baguette hoop earrings to create a kind of musical movement that reflects African American call-and-response rhythms. Her work is now available at Greenwich St. Jewelers as part of the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative (EDDI) launched by Lorraine Schwartz x the Natural Diamond Council (all photos courtesy of Greenwich St. Jewelers). 

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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