Vania Leles of Vanleles Diamonds

Black designers are historically underrepresented in our industry. That shouldn’t be the case, but it is. We want to be a part of the change, and hope you will join us. The Jewellery Futures Fund seeks to address the systemic challenges faced by Black jewellers in the UK.  We are establishing resources to be used to:

  • Aid in the recruitment of Black students onto jewellery design programmes
  • Support engagement more widely within the jewellery sector for those of Black heritage through vocational training, internships and mentoring and across every section of the industry
  • Create scholarships for Black students on jewellery courses
  • Create paid internships for Black students in jewellery design/making/marketing and commerce
  • Provide grants to Black students and Black graduates 

In addition to awarding funds to support the above initiatives and existing programmes doing work in these areas, the community forming around this initiative will also support emerging makers through bench spaces, mentoring, PR advice, retail space and editorial coverage. 

We are exploring ways to work with programmes at the secondary school level as part of our recruitment strategy as progression into Higher Education and vocational training is an important focus for us.   

We have sought advice and guidance from organisations and individuals with experience of work on racial equality within society and institutions and in actively creating opportunities for marginalised groups. 

Through advocacy we seek to help businesses and organisations examine their approaches across the board – often organisations are not aware which aspects of their approach are prohibiting them from achieving equality and diversity and we want to support.

Our initial call out asked for contributions starting at £1,000 each alongside each of us to make this a reality. We have been overwhelmed with the support from those we have spoken to thus far as well as a growing matrix of support through internships, mentorships, retail support (online and in store), product development advice and PR advice. 

We are in discussions with several large jewellery companies about ways they can support and engage with this initiative. Additionally, some companies and organisations are organising internal fundraising drives to support this fund. We are engaged with organisations and professionals from the luxury and jewellery industries with a history of sector development work who are lending their support and assistance as we build structures to address the under-representation and barriers to achievement for Black jewellers in the UK.

The money donated will go directly to establish a fund that will support scholarships and mentorships for future students at a variety of UK institutions with relevant programmes. We are establishing a charitable body to support us in this work, the Jewellery Futures Fund being a grant-giving mechanism within the charity.