Events & Awards

BIJC to Honor Simone I. Smith at Upcoming ‘Rock the Jewels’

Events & AwardsOct 04, 2023

BIJC to Honor Simone I. Smith at Upcoming ‘Rock the Jewels’

The award ceremony will recognize the designer and other nominees for their impact on the industry and commitment to BIJC’s mission.

Simone I. Smith and BIJC Rock the Jewels nominees
Jewelry designer Simone I. Smith (at center) will receive the first BIJC “Rock the Jewels Award” at its inaugural event next month. Also pictured are some of the nominees in the other categories.
New York—The Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) will honor designer Simone I. Smith at its inaugural “Rock the Jewels” event.

Held on Nov. 16 as part of New York City Jewelry Week, the event will celebrate those who have made their mark on the industry and forwarded BIJC’s mission.

The celebration, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of hip hop, will recognize how the music genre has influenced the gem and jewelry industry. 

Smith will receive the first BIJC “Rock the Jewels Award” in honor of her “contributions to the jewelry industry, her outstanding resilience, philanthropic endeavors, and her unwavering support of the Black community,” said BIJC.

Smith, a 19-year cancer survivor, was diagnosed with stage III chondrosarcoma, a rare bone cancer.

Her journey inspired her to launch Simone I. Smith Jewelry in 2011.

Smith’s first design, a now-signature lollipop pendant dubbed “A Sweet Touch of Hope,” came about after her lollipop tattoo was altered during surgery.

She later designed a full collection with a focus on hoop earrings.

In 2018, Smith launched Sister Love, a partnership with Mary J. Blige. The line took inspiration from their friendship and a shared love of statement jewelry.

Most recently, Smith designed “Majesty for Men,” a collection of men’s jewelry inspired by her husband, LL Cool J.

“I’m excited to be recognized by the BIJC with the first ever ‘Rock The Jewels Award’ because I absolutely love rockin’ jewels,” said Smith.

“My love for jewelry has allowed me to create and design pieces that make women and men feel good, look good, and build confidence. It’s a blessing to lift up and shine a light on others, especially Black and Brown creatives in the jewelry industry. I believe in the power of accessories, especially a big pair of hoops.” 

 Related stories will be right here … 

BIJC will also present awards in four other categories.

The organization will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to a supporter of BIJC with more than 20 years of “significant impact on the industry.”

The “Behind the Shine Award” will be given to an individual who has made significant contributions to BIJC behind the scenes.

The nominees are Grace Barretti, senior marketing manager at Greenwich St. Jewelers; Monalisa DePina, account executive at Reed Exhibitions USA; and Anna Samsonova, founder of Samsonova Consulting.

The “Rising Star Award” will be presented to an up-and-coming designer in the industry.

The nominees are Ashley Alexis of Omi Woods, Jessenia Landrum of Jevela, and Aziza-Abdullah Nicole of Aziza Handcrafted.

The “Shining Together Award” will honor allies, either companies or individuals, who are committed to supporting BIJC and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the industry.

The nominees are Greenwich St. Jewelers, JCK, and Signet Jewelers.

“Congratulations to Simone and the nominees of the inaugural BIJC Awards ceremony. It is paramount to celebrate the achievements of Black professionals and rising talent in the gem and jewelry industry,” said BIJC President Annie Doresca.

“This event celebrates luminaries and visionaries whose contributions have been pivotal in our industry’s evolution, while underscoring BIJC’s commitment to uplift every trailblazer on their journey to success.”

The winners will be announced at “Rock The Jewels.” For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the event website.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated post-publication to correct the event date.

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