By Michelle Graff
The new “DeVote” capsule collection from Jules Kim of Bijules is a creative take on voting jewelry and is available in sterling silver or 14-karat gold.
A few weeks ago, I opened an email from New York City-based jewelry designer Jules Kim about the launch of her new collection, “DeVote,” which I read as “de-vote.”

What is this, I thought to myself? What does de-vote mean? Is this a new social movement that I’m unaware of?

Then I started reading through the attachment and I got it.

It’s “devote,” as in: Devote yourself to voting in the uber-important, upcoming election on Nov. 3 but, also, dedicate yourself to staying involved and voting in subsequent elections after that date.

“There’s something faith-based about being devoted to something better that I really wanted to put into physical form and push out into the world,” Kim explained when I caught up with her on the phone last week.

But for Kim, who counts innovation as one of the three pillars of her brand, a piece of jewelry that reads simply “vote,” is too literal.

So she chose another, similar word that’s been on her mind a lot about lately—devote, which contains the word “vote” but also carries with it the weight of a long-term commitment. It reminds people to vote on Nov. 3, yes, but also to make a pledge to keep voting.

“That’s what devotion is. You give yourself to something for the rest of your life,” Kim said. “If we don’t devote ourselves to [democracy], it will come undone.”

20201023 DeVote necklaceThere are two necklace styles in the “DeVote” collection: a mini-nameplate in 14-karat gold and a larger style available in sterling silver, or sterling silver with 14-karat gold vermeil.
The designer combined her unique take on the prompt to participate in our democracy and framed it with classic elements to create a four-piece capsule collection.

It consists of two different necklaces, a pair of earrings and a ring, all in nameplate style—a “super New York” style, she says, with a rich and interesting history—and the “V” in DeVote is reminiscent of the checkmarks people once used to mark their ballots, pre-punch cards and electronic voting.

She launched the collection in collaboration with the rebirth of The Wide Awakes, a decentralized group of artists looking to get out the vote, spread joy through art, and march and organize for a better future.

A 14-karat yellow gold DeVote necklace was one of the rewards in The Wide Awakes’ Kickstarter campaign, which reached its goal.

20201023 DeVote ring“DeVote” is designed for consumers of all ages, but is the kind of style that could easily catch on among younger consumers. As Kim put it: “Michelle Obama buys the vote necklace, but her daughters buy the DeVote necklace.”
Kim designed DeVote with people of all ages in mind, but she can see having particular appeal for Gen Z consumers.

They are: diverse, politically active (Greta Thunberg, for example, is a Gen Zer), motivated to spend money with brands that back causes they care about, and good at finding what they like online, which is exactly where DeVote lives, for now.

The capsule collection is for sale on the Bijules website, but the designer wants to offer it for wholesale to independent jewelers as well as larger retailers.

She believes that going forward, it will be “customary” for collections to have a charitable component.

Consumerism won’t be just about a purchase, an “I buy, I get” transaction, but about consumers using their purchasing power to make a broader impact.

It’s a shift, she said, the industry should get on board with now and it should enlist a more diverse group of independent designers to help.

“The more product we put out there with meaning, the better our industry will be,” Kim said.

All DeVote jewelry is handmade in New York City by Black, indigenous and people of color, and is available in sterling silver or 14-karat white or yellow gold. Retail prices range from $265 to $975.

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