In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the national protests that have ensued, I have been moved to listen closer, learn more and have had meaningful conversations with friends and colleagues to better educate myself on the issue at the forefront of our national discourse right now. As a company, our passion is to help people celebrate life and special occasions. We are advocates for love, kindness and inclusivity. Unequivocally, we denounce racism in any form, it has no place in today’s society and I am saddened that systemic racism continues to exist in our country and world. The events of the last few months have put into stark reality how alive and well racism is in our society, and this powerful movement has forced many of us to confront our own responsibility in the mission to root out racism. Because – black lives matter.
I have sought to instill values at Omi Gems that treat all people equally, with the same enthusiasm and passion regardless of race or stature. I believe strong principles of inclusivity and compassion are some of the factors that have contributed greatly to the strength of our business and are tantamount to the foundation on which we will build on in the future. It is important to me that the Omi Privé staff are part of our diverse family and are advocates of the same values.
One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Martin Luther King “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that” I would like to think we bring light and love into people’s lives with our gemstones and jewelry. However, it is our duty, more than ever, to bring this light and love into our community and nation to aid in the healing process and to help affect change. Community is a hallmark of the many small businesses that make up the jewelry industry, and as a current and past board member of several industry organizations, including AGS, AGTA and the 24Karat Club of Southern California; I would like to be a voice for progress and the expansion of our industry as a whole.
These are our first actions:
Establish lasting programs to mentor students of color interested in the jewelry industry and learning about colored gemstones.
Advocate and use my voice to encourage more inclusivity and opportunities for persons of color in the jewelry industry.
Continue to support and empower African miners, their families and communities through Gem Legacy.
We will continue to listen, learn and take action. We welcome an open dialogue with our fellow colleagues in the jewelry industry in pursuit of additional ways and ideas to expand opportunities in gems and jewelry for people of color. We will continue to spread love, kindness and empathy as a business and as individuals.
We have made a donation to the Art Smith Memorial Scholarship Foundation named in honor of influential mid-century modernist New York City-based black jewelry designer Art Smith, a group of 50 jewelry industry brands have joined forces to fund a $50,000 Endowment at FIT that will create ongoing scholarships and mentorships to support black students attending the Jewelry Design program.
This is only the start.
President and Head Designer
Learn more about the initiatives we support and how you can donate: