27 black jewelry designers to watch
The jewels are always staff. Whether it’s a heirloom passed down from generation to generation or a necklace you wear every day, there is nothing in fashion like jewelry to make you feel like yourself. . So when it comes to showing off and supporting brands, go for an even higher goal with a more inclusive jewelry box. Supporting black artists is and always will be important, and with designers like Mateo’s Matthew Harris inlaying gemstones with diamond monograms and Areeayl Goodwin’s Beads Byaree celebrating black joy and taking the fashion industry by storm. (and Solange’s wardrobe), it’s easier than ever to do then. Coming up, 27 black jewelry brands to buy now and always.
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Ode to founder Morgan Thomas’ mother, Yam NYC pieces are all handmade in Queens, New York. The nostalgia-focused line features gold-plated metals offset by playful charms like blown glass hearts.
Led by designer Sade Mims, EDAS has everything you need if you love aesthetics. Think durable housewares, luxurious handbags and, most notably, eclectic handcrafted jewelry.
If these ‘VOTE’ necklaces sound familiar to you, it’s because you’ve seen them on none other than Michelle Obama’s neckline. Suffice it to say, designer and creative director Chari Cuthbert creates with purpose.
Although Matthew Harris was born in Jamaica, he cut his teeth in New York’s jewelry district and is now leading the way as one of the city’s top modern designers. With the jewelry worn by Rihanna, Solange and Zendaya, everything he touches turns (literally) into gold, diamonds and gems.
Omi Woods is on a mission not only to create future inspired legacies of the African diaspora, but also to empower everyone involved, from minors to potential carriers. Using fair trade gold and workers protected by fair wages and community outreach, designer Ashley Alexis McFarlane aims and succeeds in producing jewelry that matters.
For starters, Third Crown is backed by Beyoncé herself. Founders and co-designers Kristin and Kofi Essel put their love and industry experience directly into their exquisite products, with heavy geometric shapes and gender neutral pieces.
For romantic jewelry that merges traditional cuts with a modern trend, consider jewelry from Valerie Madison. Pay special attention to her personalized engagement rings, which feature unexpected touches like salt and pepper diamonds and rose-cut gemstones.
Supported by Solange and Tracee Ellis Ross (who wore Beads Byaree on SHEdigital cover August 2020), Areeayl Goodwin’s brand is quickly becoming a household name. She marries fantasy and power, evoking an emotional response to her imaginative jewelry. The only thing more magical would be to get your hands on a coin, as her designs are constantly out of print.
Johnny Nelson says his jewelry is “eye-catching conversation pieces.” The topic of discussion? Everything from black history to hip-hop to spirituality, with direct references to Harriet Tubman and the Wu-Tang Clan.
The gold standard in Auvere is just that: pure, unadulterated gold. In 2016, Gina Love (a former real estate lawyer) and Steven Feldman founded Auvere on the assumption that all their jewelry would be 22 or 24 karat gold only, so the metal really shines.
Oma the label
If you’re the gold-only type, check out Oma the Label. The brand excels at modernizing chains, rings and even classic body jewelry, all in your favorite metal.
We dream in color
Fortune favors the bold, and that can be said in particular of Jade Gedeon, the creative mastermind behind We Dream in Color. Her collection isn’t for the faint hearted, but it’s easy to fall in love with her technicolor earrings, oversized necklaces, and designs designed to make you smile.
Based in the Bay Area of California, the premium jewelry of founder Lauren Harwell Godfrey speaks to your soul. She designs to heal, using 18k gold, luxuriously detailed enamel inlays and a special use of color to protect wearers with symbolic coins.
Think of Marcia Vidal’s jewelry as talismans. Her handmade silver and gold jewelry is the kind you can’t imagine taking off. With the proceeds from every purchase benefiting the Choose Love nonprofit, it’s hard not to wear your heart around your neck.
Founder Ope Omojola’s pieces are wearable works of art. With each hand-cut stone, her jewelry showcases her raw materials and, by default, enhances your entire look.
True fans will definitely love Khadijah Fulton’s line, White Space. The designer created the Vrai bridal collection, but her own label is decidedly more delicate, with items like baroque pearls and curvy earrings that curl along the ear.
Alicia Goodwin’s Lingua Nigra “draws inspiration from nature, with an emphasis on ancient talismans, Victorian-era work, and sentimental mourning jewelry.” The songs speak for themselves.
SOKO puts people first. The jeweller’s and technology company empowers Kenyan artisans by providing them with a technology platform that connects them to global markets. In other words, SOKO directly reaches its craftsmen via a mobile application, eliminating the middleman. The designs themselves are modern and ideal for everyday use.
If your taste for jewelry is more specialized, check out Angely Martinez, whose work draws on an avant-garde aesthetic with touches of Baroque Rococo art.
All jewelry does not have to fall into the “classic” or “performance” category. Case in point: Bernard James, with pieces ranging from flower-studded Cuban link chains to mixed-metal bracelets, is an understated combination of the two. (Editor’s note: James’s dog wears a personalized chain as shown on SHE.)
Founded in 2011 by Pastors Jeremiah Kuria and Zane Wilemon, Ubuntu Life originally partnered with nine moms in Kenya to help produce household items that would support them financially. The following year, the brand grew and began working with Maasai craftswomen in the Ngong Hills, who used their traditional beadwork knowledge to create beautiful bracelets. Ubuntu Life has continued to grow, but its focus of supporting communities and providing sustainable jobs has never changed.
Shayba Muhammad’s poetic brass jewelry is both sensual and meditative. Her designs encourage you to be intentional in your jewelry choices, whether with an elegant choker or a pair of twisted hoops. “I want women to feel at home with Mahnal,” she says.
With stints at Narciso Rodriguez and Barney’s, Jameel Mohammed is an emerging design talent with a bright future. Khiry’s alluring pieces range from voluptuous curves to Horus pendants and exquisite personalized jewelry, so we expect to see more of him soon.
The Buyer is the kind of jewelry you must tag in your grid post, otherwise your comments section will be inundated with “where did you find this” questions. Founded by identical twins Dynasty and Soull Ogun and inspired by science, religion, mythology, magic and fairy tales, even the brand’s quietest designs speak volumes.
Get noticed in Taylor Nikole jewelry. Her handcrafted sculptural earrings merge art and fashion and will ensure at least three compliments by wear. Above all, the pieces really arouse joy.
Experimental in nature and handcrafted in Nairobi, Kenya, Theresia Kyalo’s pieces shake up what we think of as jewelry. Its beautiful custom metalwork is truly a sight to see (and wear).
Jewelry doesn’t have to be serious, and founder Sydney Ziems and her brand Serendipitous Project will surely cheer you up. Her colorful, conceptual designs are like a DIY project that has worked well, with items like sculpted turquoise rings dazzled with gemstones and seashell barrettes.
Justine Carreon is the Marketplace Editor at ELLE.com covering Fashion, Dutch Ovens and more Fashion.
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