Events & Awards

NYC Jewelry Week Isn’t Letting 2020 Slow It Down

Events & AwardsNov 06, 2020

NYC Jewelry Week Isn’t Letting 2020 Slow It Down

Though the weeklong celebration of jewelry will be virtual for the first time, its event schedule is still loaded.

NYC Jewelry Week 2020 will include a virtual event with jewelry designer Temple St. Clair, who will speak about her new “Celestial” collection, created from a mission to design “meaningful jewels during these meaningful times.”
New York—NYC Jewelry Week turns three this year, and despite the pandemic pushing everything virtual, organizers are keeping up their momentum in 2020.

The weeklong event will run from Nov. 16-22 and be presented, for the first time, in a completely virtual format, featuring more than 120 panels, conversations, workshops, and virtual exhibitions via Zoom, YouTube, Instagram Live, or the NYC Jewelry Week website.

This year, the program is broken into seven themes to celebrate the various facets of jewelry to be explored.

Jewelry for All “represents the democracy of NYCJW as a platform,” organizers said in a press release, celebrating the stories and voices of all jewelry makers and lovers around the world.

Sessions within the theme will share stories of self-expression and identity through jewelry.

For example, “Chasing Horizons: A Preview” (Nov. 17) will see jeweler Steven KP introduce a three-part project highlighting queer voices in the jewelry field and their expression of self through their work, and “Sonwai: A Discussion of Modern Hopi Jewelry” (Nov. 18) will feature a conversation with Verma Nequatewa, a leading female contemporary master goldsmith and lapidary.

Full Circle carries over from last year’s event, focusing on responsible jewelry-making and the organizations and businesses supporting that mission.

In tune with the environment of 2020, this year’s programming in Full Circle: A Responsible Jewelry Cycle will focus on the impact of responsible sourcing on community, racial equity and social justice.

As part of this, one event to be held will be a discussion between industry writer Tanya Dukes and Muzo about the miner’s latest collaboration with jewelry designers to build awareness of the sourcing behind its Colombian emeralds (Nov. 16).

The sessions in Mindful Adornment, meanwhile, will take participants “on an exploration of mind, body, and soul,” diving into the spiritual role jewelry has long played in humans’ lives, as a source of strength, healing, and comfort.

NY Jewelry Week 2020 will offer several “mindful” moments, from meditation to Shamanic breathwork to yoga breaks, all led by jewelers who incorporate these practices into their jewelry businesses.

Then, through The Now NOW, Jewelry Week will look at aspects important to culture: education, activism, politics, equity, climate change, friendship, and health.

The theme will examine jewelry that “responds to, reflects upon, or calls to action what is on the minds and in the hearts of those in its extended communities with the belief that jewelry should represent the world around it.”

Events to be held within this include “Civil Rights and Body Politics: In Flux: American Jewelry and the Counterculture,” (Nov. 19) in which jewelers Joyce J. Scott and Harriete Estel Berman will talk about their experiences as makers in the turbulent 1970s and early 1980s, and “Cultural Innovators: April Walker and Johnny Nelson,” in which fashion pioneer April Walker and emerging jewelry designer Johnny Nelson will share their inspirations, like hip hop culture, music, beauty and health (Nov. 21). 

The fifth theme, Playing for Keeps, will delve into jewelry heirlooms past and present through tea parties, cocktail hours, books discussions, showroom visits, and studio tours.

“Happy Hour with For Future Reference” (Nov. 16) and “Picnic Conversations with Daniella Villegas” (Nov. 19) are two such events.

Bench Business will feature dedicated sessions for educating the jeweler, retailer and consumer about how jewelry moves from the bench to jewelry boxes, like “Power, Freedom, Love: the Jewelry of Lorraine West” (Nov. 17).

And last, but certainly not least, the Cultural Experiment theme is “all about the dreamers, the innovators, and the mainstays.” The theme will celebrate the makers, wearers, curators and educators who have paved the way in the jewelry space, including a panel discussion about the “Jewelers of the 60s & 70s” (Nov. 19).

These seven themes will be color-coded on the event schedule posted online and the NYC Jewelry Week Instagram to help guide participants through the week. 

“In putting together this year’s NYCJW, we wanted to create a really positive experience for the audience—something that we are all missing these days. We hope that everyone approaches the week holistically, not simply as a series of one-off events, and spends time with us,” said co-founder Bella Neyman. 

She added: “By looking at our schedule, one can easily put together their own version of the perfect jewelry day.”

NYCJW will also expand its program offerings for Here We Are, a strategic initiative seeking equity for underrepresented jewelers and artists through awareness, empowerment, and education. 

For 2020, NYCJW's Director of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion, Elliot Carlyle, partnered with photographer Alain Simić to create a series of editorial images celebrating several New York-based Black creatives.

Among the jewelers represented in this project are Lorraine West Jewelry, Aziza Handcrafted (whose jewelry is pictured in the photo above), Johnny Nelson, L’Enchanteur and AUR Jewelry.

“I was extremely happy when NYC Jewelry Week agreed to collaborate with me to produce this spread of images highlighting the work of several talented Black jewelry designers, each of whom celebrate their identity and heritage through designs that are strikingly beautiful,” Simić said.

“It is a shame that more attention has not been paid to these designers in the past—and there are many more who still do not have the recognition they deserve—but I am hopeful that these images and the support of NYC Jewelry Week will help give each designer broader reach and a new set of customers who would have otherwise not known about them or their beautiful work.”

The images come as part of the larger Here We Are program in 2020, which will also include three funding awards for Black jewelers. Winners will be announced on Friday, Nov. 13.

Additionally, Jewelry Week is rolling out a marketplace of exclusive items in conjunction with 1stDibs for Here We Are, launching Nov. 12.

Organizers are also adding networking and mentorship sessions for the program in December.

“Adding this aspect to the agenda means that the community and opportunities for the jewelers within HWA can expand beyond the week of NYCJW, that we can truly make this a community effort, build bridges, collaborate and be a platform for real change,” co-founder JB Jones said.

Meanwhile, this year’s week-long event will also continue its relationship with notable local and international museums and galleries.

There will be a behind-the-scenes look at the Alice & Louis Koch collection of over 2,500 finger rings at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich, and a tour of the Museo del Gioiello in Vicenza’s Basilica Palladiana, Italy’s first museum dedicated exclusively to jewelry.

NYC Jewelry Week’s full calendar of events for 2020 is available on its website.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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