Auctions

Sotheby’s to Highlight Top Black Jewelry Design Talent in Fall Sale

AuctionsAug 11, 2021

Sotheby’s to Highlight Top Black Jewelry Design Talent in Fall Sale

“Brilliant & Black: A Jewelry Renaissance” will feature works from 20-plus jewelry designers from the 1950s to present day.

Pictured are the “Enchanted Garden Earrings” from fine jewelry brand Vanleles. They are crafted in titanium and rose gold with diamonds and rubies, priced at $108,270. Works from Vanleles will be featured at Sotheby’s upcoming selling exhibition: “Brilliant & Black: A Jewelry Renaissance.”
New York—Jewelry editor and author Melanie Grant asserts that just as Black talents like James Baldwin, Gordon Parks, and Harry Belafonte began their rise to creative recognition a century ago in post-World War I America, so now are Black jewelry designers ascending to cultural prominence.

She makes the case for it this fall at the selling exhibition she’s curated in partnership with Sotheby’s, called “Brilliant & Black: A Jewelry Renaissance.”

The sale will feature roughly 60 pieces from more than 20 leading Black jewelry designers, from the 1950s to present day.

Thelma West “Rebel Black Ring” featuring a 5.01-carat pear-shaped, D-color diamond; $400,000. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Thelma West “Rebel Black Ring” featuring a 5.01-carat pear-shaped, D-color diamond; $400,000. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)

Designers like Art Smith and Winifred Mason Chenet represent the jewelry industry’s pioneering Black talents.

Their work will be featured alongside contemporary creatives: Harwell Godfrey, Jacqueline Rabun, Johnny Nelson, Lorraine West, Rashid Johnson, Thelma West, Vanleles, Castro NYC, Almasika, Marei Fine Jewelry, Mateo New York, Matturi Fine Jewellery, Melanie Eddy Jewellery, Sheryl Jones Jewels, Ten Thousand Things, Lola Fenhirst, Jariet Oloyé, Maggi Simpkins, and Shola Branson.

Rashid Johnson x LizWorks 9-karat gold cuff from “Anxious Men,” featuring rhodium engraving, red enamel, and five rubies weighing total 0.3 carats; edition of 15; $18,500. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Rashid Johnson x LizWorks 9-karat gold cuff from “Anxious Men,” featuring rhodium engraving, red enamel, and five rubies weighing total 0.3 carats; edition of 15; $18,500. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)

Grant has been a journalist for more than 20 years, currently working at The Economist as luxury editor of sister publication 1843 Magazine.

Her book “Coveted: Art and Innovation in High Jewelry” was released last year from Phaidon.

In her foreword to the “Brilliant & Black: A Jewelry Renaissance” exhibition, she writes that a societal shift in the wake of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests have transformed the longstanding tradition of Africa-as-subject-matter to designers of African descent expressing their own experiences.

Matturi “Nomoli Totem Mis-match” earrings in 18-karat yellow gold with 1.69 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds, emeralds, and South Sea pearls; $12,873. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Matturi “Nomoli Totem Mis-match” earrings in 18-karat yellow gold with 1.69 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds, emeralds, and South Sea pearls; $12,873. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)

Grant explained, “This show represents a shift in thinking from ‘African inspired’ to Black talent being the inspiration. I’ve loved working with Frank [Everett], Sotheby’s, as well as the designers who have surpassed all our expectations. I think we’ll look back at this moment as a game changer, amplifying the often overlooked and sometimes underappreciated talents and stories of black jewelry designers.”

Everett, Sotheby’s director of jewelry, added, “It’s been an honor to collaborate with Melanie, whose knowledge and passion for jewelry design is only superseded by her appreciation for Black artistry. Together, we’ve gathered 21 remarkable designers—some of whom have already enjoyed success and others who are emerging as major forces in the jewelry world—and have asked them to showcase two or three of their captivating designs.”

Harwell Godfrey’s “Cleopatra’s Vault Pendant and Snake Foundation Chain” in 18-karat yellow gold with Muzo emeralds, black and white onyx, and white diamonds; $115,050. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Harwell Godfrey’s “Cleopatra’s Vault Pendant and Snake Foundation Chain” in 18-karat yellow gold with Muzo emeralds, black and white onyx, and white diamonds; $115,050. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)

He continued, “Spanning from the 1950s to today, these artisan’s creations—many of which have been newly created for the occasion—showcase a range of styles and materials, illuminating the diverse sources of inspiration. Sotheby’s is enormously proud to be involved in such a momentous project and to highlight the compelling stories of the individual designers. We are delighted that this first exhibition will contribute to revealing their talents and contributions to the art of jewelry to a wider audience.”

Almasika “Universum Bangle” in 18-karat yellow gold with tsavorite; $24,000. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Almasika “Universum Bangle” in 18-karat yellow gold with tsavorite; $24,000. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)

“Brilliant & Black: A Jewelry Renaissance” will be on view at Sotheby’s New York from Sept. 17-26. All pieces will be available for purchase in-person or online through Sotheby’s Buy Now online marketplace from Sept. 17 to Oct. 10. 

 Related stories will be right here …

The Latest

CollectionsFeb 02, 2023
Lowe’s Is Now Selling Jewelry

The home improvement store’s website features an “Empowerment Tools” demi-fine jewelry collection.

Events & AwardsFeb 02, 2023
Registration is Now Open for JIS Spring 2023

The show will feature a new pavilion of 30 jewelry designers and manufacturers from Surat, India.

Policies & IssuesFeb 02, 2023
Tiny Radioactive Capsule Lost in Australian Outback Found

A government official said search crews “found the needle in the haystack” when they located the capsule belonging to Rio Tinto along an 870-mile stretch of road.

Brought to you by
Bringing Over 130 Years of Diamond Expertise to Modern Grading

De Beers Institute of Diamonds provides the very best in diamond verification, education and diamond services.

TrendsFeb 02, 2023
Amanda’s Style File: Purple and Playful

Amanda Gizzi welcomes February with a selection of amethyst jewelry, a birthstone that “deserves its own time to shine.”

Weekly QuizFeb 02, 2023
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
EditorsFeb 01, 2023
Designers to Watch in 2023: Boochier

Behind the playful and nostalgic brand lies deeper meaning.

Events & AwardsFeb 01, 2023
New Miami Jewelry Center Slated to Open in Q1

The Time Century Jewelry Center is located in downtown Miami’s jewelry district.

Brought to you by
De Beers Institute of Diamonds Expands to Offer Education

De Beers is sharing over 130 years of experience and expertise through the De Beers Institute of Diamonds with a selection of courses.

SurveysFeb 01, 2023
Consumer Confidence Falls in January

Wariness about the year ahead offset a more positive view of the current economic situation.

MajorsFeb 01, 2023
Six New Retailers Appointed to IJO’s Board of Directors

The IJO also welcomed one new vendor member to its 13-member board, Brecken Farnsworth of Parlé Jewelry Designs.

ColumnistsJan 31, 2023
Squirrel Spotting: How About a Word for the New Year?

It begins with a “t” and ends with a “c” and is imbued with warmth and positivity, Peter Smith writes.

Policies & IssuesJan 31, 2023
Rio Tinto Issues Apology After Radioactive Capsule Goes Missing

The tiny capsule, which is believed to have fallen out of a truck, was lost somewhere along an 870-mile stretch of desert road.

MajorsJan 31, 2023
Indian Jewelry Brand Tanishq Opens First U.S. Store, More on the Way

The jeweler’s expansion plans include 20 to 30 more stores in North America and the Middle East over the next two to three years.

Events & AwardsJan 31, 2023
Gucci Is Getting a Gem Award

The Italian luxury brand will receive the first Gem Award for High Jewelry Excellence.

MajorsJan 31, 2023
Martin Flyer Names New VP of Business Development

Industry veteran Kevin Lane has stepped into the role.

MajorsJan 30, 2023
Researchers Uncover Bejeweled ‘Golden Boy’ Mummy

The ancient Egyptian teenager was buried 2,300 years ago with 49 amulets to guide him through the afterlife.

SurveysJan 30, 2023
Consumers Embracing Non-Traditional Ways to Mark Valentine’s Day

The NRF’s annual survey shows that consumer attitudes about how, or even whether, to celebrate Feb. 14 continue to evolve.

Events & AwardsJan 30, 2023
JA Is Searching for the Next Retail ’20 Under 40’

Nominations are open now through March 24.

MajorsJan 30, 2023
10 Jewelry News Stories You Might Have Missed

A column detailing how independent jewelers did last year and the top watch brands of 2022 were among the most-read stories last week.

FinancialsJan 27, 2023
Tiffany & Co. Shines for LVMH in 2022

Acquired in 2021, the brand’s high jewelry sales have doubled and its new “Lock” collection was an instant hit.

MajorsJan 27, 2023
Diamond Council of America Appoints Treasurer, Board Member

Executives from Fred Meyer Jewelers and Riddles Jewelers have filled the roles.

CollectionsJan 27, 2023
Piece of the Week: Heavenly Vices’ Lock Necklace

The Victorian-inspired design is a functional lock and key.

Supplier BulletinJan 26, 2023
JA New York Spring Brings the Industry Together

For over 100 years, JA New York has played an integral role in facilitating the evolution of our industry, while also honoring past traditions.

TrendsJan 26, 2023
At Vicenzaoro, Paola De Luca Gazes Into Jewelry’s Future

The trend forecaster and her guests explored unconventional jewelry designs, NFTs, AI art, and more during her Trendvision presentation.

CollectionsJan 26, 2023
NDC and Lorraine Schwartz Announce New ‘EDDI’ Class

The Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative provides diamond credit and mentorship to young brands helmed by BIPOC designers.

IndependentsJan 26, 2023
Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry Set to Open 10th Store

It will be located in San Antonio’s Alamo Quarry Market and will be Lee Michaels’ third location in the city.

Policies & IssuesJan 26, 2023
Diamonds Do Good Names 10 to Board of Directors

Stephanie Gottlieb, Jewelers Mutual’s Mike Alexander, and Craig Rottenberg of Long’s Jewelers are among the new board members.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy