Here Are the Winners of BIJC’s Inaugural ‘Rock the Jewels’ Awards
The organization recognized outstanding industry players at its celebratory event.
New York—The Black In Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) has announced the winners of its first “Rock the Jewels” Awards, which were presented last week at its inaugural Rock the Jewels event.
The event took place at Elise Rooftop in Manhattan during New York City Jewelry Week and celebrated the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
Here are the winners.
Jeffery Bolling, district manager of Signet Jewelers, was honored with the BIJC Lifetime Achievement Award, which celebrates a lifetime dedicated to excellence and innovation.
Bolling was chosen for this honor for his “exceptional” contributions to the industry over the past 30 years, BIJC said.
After his service in the U.S. Army in 1986, Bolling began a career in the jewelry industry that spanned retail sales, jewelry design, and founding his store, Jeffery B Jewelers, in Denver, Colorado.
The organization said Bolling was a trailblazer who has “left an indelible mark on the industry,” noting that he continues to foster inclusivity and pave the way for coming generations.
“Bolling's legacy continues to inspire and uplift, setting the standard for excellence in our industry,” BIJC said.
Grace Barretti, senior marketing manager at Greenwich St. Jewelers, received the “Behind the Shine” Award for her contributions behind the scenes in support of BIJC.
Barretti has participated in the BIJC Together By Design competition for the past two years and has served as a key member of the BIJC communications team since March 2022.
The organization said her creativity and tenacity have been instrumental in bringing BIJC's mission to life.
JCK received the “Shining Together” Award – Company for its uplifting and inclusive initiatives within the industry.
JCK’s continuous support of BIJC, including providing access and opportunities to Black jewelry and gem professionals through its JCK Las Vegas shows, has been transformative, BIJC said.
Kecia Caffie, president of Signet-owned Zales, received the “Shining Together” Award – Individual for her commitment to supporting BIJC and fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion.
BIJC said Caffie played a pivotal role in creating initiatives such as the Banter Designer Competition and the Zales Designer Competition.
Caffie has also supported BIJC through the Black Lives Matter and Juneteenth pendants.
“Her participation in the IDEA Panel on Diversity further underscores her dedication to making a positive impact in the industry,” the organization said.
The BIJC "Rock the Jewels" Award was given to Simone I. Smith, a designer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and cancer survivor.
“Simone’s exceptional contributions to the jewelry industry, her resilience, philanthropic endeavors, and unwavering support of the Black community have earned her this prestigious award,” BIJC said.
Up-and-coming designer Jessenia Landrum was recognized with the “Rising Star” Award, acknowledging her as a designer “making waves in the industry” with her brand, Jevela, which includes designs inspired by a transformative three-month backpacking journey through Southeast Asia.
Landrum was also part of NDC’s Emerging Designers Diamonds Initiative.
New York City Jewelry Week’s “Here We Are” Awards also were presented at Rock the Jewels.
The “Exhibition” Award went to Angely Martinez; the “Emerging Entrepreneur Award NYC” was presented to Ariana Embirikos, founder of Embirikos; and the “Emerging Entrepreneur Award USA” was presented to Tiffany Vanderhoop, founder of Huckleberry Woman.
“As we reflect on the last three years of BIJC’s existence, we can’t help but marvel at the milestones we’ve achieved together,” said BIJC President Annie Doresca.
“The 50th anniversary of hip-hop served as the perfect backdrop to celebrate the cultural phenomenon but also to honor BIJC's unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the jewelry industry. That is precisely what the award winners reflect, and we are so proud of the impact each of them have made.”
For more information about the organization and its initiatives, please visit BIJC’s website.
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