Jewelry is always personal. Whether it’s an heirloom passed down through generations or a necklace you wear every day, there’s nothing in the fashion realm quite like jewelry to makes you feel like your truest self. So when it comes to showing up and supporting brands, opt to aim even higher with a more inclusive jewelry box. Supporting Black artists is and will always be important, and with designers like Matthew Harris of Mateo encrusting gemstones with diamond monograms and Areeayl Goodwin’s Beads Byaree celebrating Black joy and taking the fashion industry (and Solange’s wardrobe) by storm, it’s easier than ever to do so. Ahead, 27 Black jewelry brands to shop now and always.
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An ode to founder Morgan Thomas’s mother, Yam NYC’s pieces are all handmade in Queens, New York. The nostalgia-driven line features gold-plated metals offset with playful charms like blown glass hearts.
Helmed by designer Sade Mims, EDAS has everything one needs if they’re into aesthetics. Think: sustainable home goods, luxurious handbags, and, notably, eclectic jewelry made by hand.
If these ‘VOTE’ necklaces look familiar to you, it’s because you’ve seen them on the décolletage of none other than Michelle Obama. Suffice it to say, designer and creative director Chari Cuthbert creates with purpose.
Although Matthew Harris was born in Jamaica, he cut his teeth in New York’s jewelry district and is now blazing the trail as one of the top modern designers in the city. With jewels worn by Rihanna, Solange, and Zendaya, everything he touches (literally) turns to gold, diamonds, and precious gems.
Omi Woods is on a mission to not only create future heirlooms inspired by the African diaspora, but empower everyone involved, from the miners to the eventual wearers. Using fair trade gold and workers protected with fair wages and community outreach, designer Ashley Alexis McFarlane aims and succeeds in producing jewelry that matters.
For starters, Third Crown is backed by Beyoncé herself. Founders and co-designers Kristin and Kofi Essel pour their love and industry experience directly into their fine wares, complete with heavy geometric shapes and gender neutral statement pieces.
For romantic jewelry that fuses traditional cuts with a modern day slant, consider jewels by Valerie Madison. Pay special attention to her custom engagement rings, which feature unexpected touches like salt-and-pepper diamonds and rose-cut gems.
Backed by Solange and Tracee Ellis Ross (who wore Beads Byaree on ELLE‘s August 2020 digital cover), Areeayl Goodwin’s brand is fast becoming a household name. She marries whimsy with power, evoking an emotional response to her imaginative jewelry. The only thing more magical would be actually getting your hands on a piece, since her designs are consistently sold out.
Johnny Nelson says his jewels are “conversation pieces that catch the eye.” The topic of discussion? Anything from Black history to hip-hop to spirituality, with direct references to Harriet Tubman and Wu-Tang Clan alike.
The gold standard at Auvere is just that: pure, unadulteraed gold. In 2016, Gina Love (a former real estate lawyer) and Steven Feldman founded Auvere on the premise that all of their jewels be made of 22 or 24 karat gold only, to let the metal really shine.
Oma the Label
If you’re a gold-only kind of person, look to Oma the Label. The brand excels at modernizing classic chains, rings, and even body jewelry all in your favorite metal.
We Dream in Colour
Fortune favors the bold, and that can be said specifically of Jade Gedeon, the creative brains behind We Dream in Colour. Her collection is not for the faint of heart, but it’s easy to fall in love with her technicolor earrings, oversized necklaces, and designs made to make you smile.
Based in the Bay Area of California, founder Lauren Harwell Godfrey’s high-end jewelry speaks to your soul. She designs to heal, using 18k gold, luxuriously detailed inlay enamel, and a special use of color to protect wearers with symbolic pieces.
Think of Marcia Vidal’s jewelry as talismans. Her handmade silver and gold jewels are the kind you can’t imagine taking off. With proceeds from each purchase benefiting the non-profit organization Choose Love, it’s hard not to wear your heart around you neck.
Founder Ope Omojola’s pieces are wearable works of art. With each stone cut by hand, her jewelry enhances its source materials, and by default, enhances your whole look.
Fans of Vrai are sure to love Khadijah Fulton’s line, White Space. The designer created Vrai’s wedding collection, but her own brand is decidedly more delicate, with items like baroque pearls and sinuous earrings that curve along the ear.
Alicia Goodwin’s Lingua Nigra “is inspired by nature, with a focus on ancient talismans, Victorian era work, and mourning sentimental jewelry.” The pieces speak for themselves.
SOKO puts people first. The jewelry and tech company empowers artisans in Kenya by offering them a tech platform that connects them with global markets. In other words, SOKO directly reaches its artisans via mobile app, cutting out the middle man. The designs themselves are modern and ideal for everyday wear.
If your taste in jewelry is more niche, check out Angely Martinez, whose work is inspired by an avant-garde aesthetic with splashes of Baroque Rococo art.
Not all jewelry has to fall in the “classic” or “statement” category. Case in point: Bernard James, with pieces ranging from flower-studded cuban link chains to mixed metal bracelets, is a quiet combination of both. (Editor’s note: James’s dog wears a custom chain, as featured on ELLE.)
Founded in 2011 by pastors Jeremiah Kuria and Zane Wilemon, Ubuntu Life originally partnered with nine moms in Kenya to help produce home goods that would support them financially. The next year, the brand expanded and started working with Maasai craftswomen in the Ngong Hills, who utilized their traditional beadwork knowledge to create beautiful bracelets. Ubuntu Life continued to grow, but its goal to support communities and provide sustainable employment has never changed.
Shayba Muhammad’s poetic brass jewelry is sensual and meditative all at once. Her designs encourage you to be intentional with your jewelry choices, whether it’s with an elegant choker or a pair of twisted hoop earrings. “I want women to feel at home with Mahnal,” she says.
With stints at Narciso Rodriguez and Barney’s, Jameel Mohammed is an emerging design talent with a bright future. Khiry’s alluring pieces range from voluptuous curves to Horus pendants and custom fine jewelry, so we expect to see more from him soon.
L’Enchateur is the kind of jewelry that you simply must tag in your grid post, otherwise your comment section will be flooded with “where’d you get that” questions. Founded by identical twins Dynasty and Soull Ogun and inspired by science, religion, mythology, magic, and fairy tales, even the brand’s quietest designs speak volumes.
Get noticed in Taylor Nikole’s jewelry. Her handmade, sculptural earrings merge art and fashion—and will ensure at least three compliments per wear. Above all, the pieces truly spark joy.
Experimental in nature and handcrafted in Nairobi, Kenya, Theresia Kyalo’s pieces subvert what we think of as jewelry. Her beautiful, made-to-order metalwork is truly a sight to see (and wear).
Jewelry doesn’t have to be serious, and founder Sydney Ziems and her brand Serendipitous Project will surely lift your spirits. Her colorful, conceptual designs are like a DIY project gone right, with items like carved turquoise rings bedazzled with gemstones and barrettes made of seashells.
Justine Carreon is the market editor at ELLE.com covering fashion, Dutch ovens, and fashion again.
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