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Community News: A Fairytale Ending to an Engagement Ring Competition

Black in Jewelry Coalition’s inaugural Together by Design Competition comes to a close

Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to uplifting Black professionals in the gem, jewelry and watch industry has completed the two-part contest and competition that awarded a love story winner a custom engagement ring designed by the winning jeweler of the competition. BIJC created the Together by Design (TBD) Competition to spotlight Black love, award an emerging Black designer and increase representation within the jewelry and bridal industry.

Phase one of the TBD contest asked couples to share their captivating love stories. Rom, the future groom and winner of the contest, shared details about what made his bond with Samantha, the future bride, unique and special.

Using only Rom and Samantha’s love story as inspiration, phase two of the competition invited jewelry designers to sketch a bespoke ring. Patricia Carruth, founder & co-owner of Your Personal Jeweler brought the couple’s story to life and won the competition. Carruth designed a one-of-a-kind ring that incorporates elements of the couple’s love, centering around a 1.31-carat GIA-graded diamond that was generously donated by Leo Schachter.

“When I saw the ring in photos, I was impressed, but when I received it and saw it in person, I was amazed! It captured our love story perfectly. Samantha and I grew up in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn, Flatbush. We had our first kiss under the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge being incorporated within the ring serves as a constant reminder of our roots and the beginning of our love,” said Rom, the love story contest winner.

The happily engaged couple and winners of the Together By Design Love Story Contest.
Photo by: Rashida Zagon.

The 1.31-carat center stone is bound by gold and surrounded by two radiant-cut accent diamonds to represent the past, present and future of the couple’s love. The gold, representative of the Brooklyn Bridge, and accent diamonds were both donated by Rio Grande.

BIJC’s TBD Competition brought together professionals in the jewelry industry and created a platform where Black jewelry designers could illustrate their skills for the opportunity to win a package of industry resources. The prize package included $5,000 cash, a scholarship for one two-hour GIA online Continuing Education Seminar, a scholarship for one Basic Tuition class at GRS for Engraving or Stone Setting, one scholarship for one Basic Tuition course at New Approach School in Tennessee, and one complimentary year of both Jewelers of America and Jewelers Vigilance Committee memberships.

“Having a community of industry professionals that looks like me means a lot. It’s something I don’t take for granted. When my grandfather entered the jewelry industry, he did not have a community like me,” said Carruth.

The bespoke engagement ring designed and crafted by Patricia Carruth of Your Personal Jeweler.

All the judges of TBD are BIJC members. Love Story contest judges included: Michelle Graff, Editor-In-Chief of National Jeweler; Elyssa Jenkins- Perez, Director of Membership and Digital Content at JVC and Vice President of BIJC; Amina Sorel, Amina Sorel Fine Jewelry; Guerdy Abraira, Owner of Guerdy Design; and Severine Ferrari, Founder of Engagement 101.

Design competition judges included: Jennifer Gandia, Co-owner of Greenwich St. Jewelers; Ronke Nedd, Founder and Creative Head at Rebecca Noff Designs Inc.; Sheryl Jones, Sheryl Jones Inc; Marla Aaron, Marla Aaron Jewelry.

Learn more about BIJC at blackinjewelry.org. For any questions or additional information, please reach out to nbarnett@gia.edu.