The jewellery industry announces a scholarship to support black students

Fifty jewellery brands have united to create a long-term scholarship and mentorships to support black students at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology

A man is carrying jewellery.
(Image credit: Art Smith)

A new scholarship fund to support black students attending the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Jewelry Design programme has been announced by the jewellery industry. The scholarship and mentorships, which will be ongoing, unite 50 jewellery brands who have created a $50,000 endowment fund to support those traditionally underrepresented in the industry.

The Art Smith Scholarship Fund is named after the New York-based jewellery designer Art Smith, whose pieces captured the modernist spirit of the 20th century. Uniting Surrealist motifs with hypnotic geometrical outlines, he was fascinated by the human body, concerned both with the ways jewellery could be worn and how he could sculpt the shapes of living organisms themselves into his jewels.

Art Smith's beautiful design.

Art Smith, Boa, 1964. Courtesy the Brooklyn Museum

(Image credit: Art Smith)

His work captured the imagination of public figures – Eleanor Roosevelt commissioned a brooch, while the cufflinks he made for Duke Ellington cleverly incorporated the first notes of Ellington’s Thirties classic, Mood Indigo.

His innovative approach to jewellery design make him an inspiring figurehead for this new endowment. ‘Black jewellery designers are incredibly underrepresented in the industry,’ says Randi Molofsky, co-founder For Future Reference who have co-organised the initiative. ‘We wanted to create something long-lasting that would actively seek out talent and give those students the tools they need to find success, through both study and mentorship. The ideas of education and access led the way.’

The endowment will remain open; going forwards, it will be reinvested and grown. Learn more about how to get involved here

Art Smith's beautiful jewellery design

A model wears Art Smith’s Modern Cuff bracelet, 1948

(Image credit: Art Smith's)

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.