There is so much work to be done. That’s the headline of a recent article penned by Victoria Gomelsky, our editor-in-chief, and a statement that echoes the thoughts and intentions of JCK’s editors. I’m one of them.
I have struggled to find my own proper “statement” because I know, I know, that I have contributed to the problem. You know how you just go about your day-to-day business sometimes, sort of on autopilot, doing your own thing, not paying anything else much mind? Yeah. That’s a problem.
It’s a problem because the work that I’m introduced and drawn to, and subsequently feature—which I cherish very much—is mostly helmed by white artists, and not making the conscious decision to dig a little deeper to find a more diverse representation of jewelry design means we are all the worse for it.
The call for a mindful, purposeful for path to diversity has been ringing in our ears for years. We write about it when we highlight the designers worn on red carpets. We think and talk about it when the hashtags are trending over the lack of diversity at award shows. We agree with it. So why aren’t we all living our lives to that standard?
I saw a post on Instagram today about Marilyn Monroe and how she used her white privilege to amplify a voice—Ella Fitzgerald’s. According to stories, Monroe used her star power to persuade West Hollywood’s Mocambo nightclub to book Ella (some accounts say the club wouldn’t book Fitzgerald due to her race, others say it was due to the owner’s reluctance to feature a true jazz singer). Whatever the reason, can you imagine a world without the voice of Ella Fitzgerald? No, thank you.
Well I’m no Marilyn Monroe (bummer, I know). But I can use this platform, however small, to try and showcase a more inclusive portfolio of work. Those whose voices speak, at least partially, through jewelry.
Hannah Becker of @diamondoodles fame has compiled a list of more than 70 black-owned jewelry businesses, and it’s a gift to the industry. Not only does it broaden our industry collectively to include more representation for people of color, but it also introduces a wealth of new (to some of us—many of the names are new to me) jewelry brands to cover, celebrate, purchase from, and wear. As jewelry lovers, I know you all can appreciate the giddiness that comes with learning of new creators. I love that feeling.
I intend to go through this list thoroughly in time, but one of the first jewelers pictured swept me up and brought me here to write this: White/Space Jewelry, a brand founded by Khadijah Fulton, a graduate of Parsons School of Design.
Fulton’s aesthetic speaks to me, as perfectly described on the brand’s website:
“After becoming a mother, Khadijah found that she wanted to create items that honored a conﬁdent, subdued interpretation of style—approachable yet distinct, with versatility and longevity at the fore.”
That’s exactly what I need in my life. And I know many women, moms or not, who feel this. Easy, carefree jewels that you can throw on and feel special, unencumbered. But still something that will have people asking, “Wow, where did you get that?”
White/Space has that in spades, with gold jewelry (sustainably made, one should note), rich with slender curves—threader earrings, dangling linear drops, a really spectacular double diamond necklace that sort of reminds me of a belly button piercing (and has me fondly remembering—and simultaneously rolling my eyes at—my youth). All of these pieces are built to wear, and built to last. I could be writing about them at any time of year or quite frankly any year, and they’d be relevant.
But what really has me going are the pearls. Pearls! Designers have been rocking it with pearls as of late, and still it feels positively fresh when you see a new setting for pearls.
Case in point: White/Space’s double baroque pearl necklace (above). Why have I not seen something like this before? I can’t get enough of it. It’s unquestionably pearl, and yet…it isn’t. You don’t look at this bombshell of a pendant, seductively dangling from a 20-inch chain, and think, That’s a nice pearl necklace. No! Baroque pearls are the stars, but they’re in a league of their own.
The designer’s same artistic curves are evident in other pearl pieces, such as the long threader silhouette of the Nova earrings, dangling with baroque pearls, and the Oona Empress earrings, a pair of delicate drops, swanlike in their beauty, showing a reverse setting of pearls that hang from behind the lobe. They’re simple but distinctive, demure but spectacular.
I don’t often envy people born in the month of June, bequeathed with a birthstone too delicate for daily, nonstop wear. Especially these days, when, due to lack of motivation to dress your best, the jewelry you’re wearing is the jewelry that’s staying put (or is that just me?). And yet I find myself yearning for an excuse to procure a pearl self-purchase—which, in the case of these, would be worn with high frequency even with a bit of extra care. For those June birthdays (or for just pure fans of pearls), this collection is a must.
Top: Treviso earrings in 14k recycled gold with 8 mm freshwater pink pearls, $398; White/SpaceFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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