With the rise of WOC-owned (women of color-owned) jewelry brands, it’s hard to believe that up until recently the jewelry industry was a male-dominated space led primarily by Caucasian men. From Louis-François Cartier to Harry Winston and Charles Lewis Tiffany—the majority of the jewelry world’s most iconic brands were almost always founded, owned, and operated by white men. But why?
The Controversial History of the Jewelry Industry
Historically the art of metalsmithing was considered a man’s job. Plus, the culture of the diamond and mineral trade was centered around the exclusion and exploitation of BBIPoC (Black, Brown, and/or Indigenous People of Color) and their land, particularly in countries abundant with natural resources where poverty, poor governance, and corruption are serious problems. Back then, and sadly even now (still), the main goal for most commercial jewelry and mining operations was/is to source the best quality gems at the lowest cost possible, by any means necessary. Unfortunately, this approach has driven over a century of widespread conflict mining within the industry—causing major devastation to the earth and violent civil conflict amongst vulnerable populations where the world’s most precious and valuable gems are sourced.
Thankfully now, the face and culture of the jewelry industry are changing with times—giving rise to an influx of more ethically-focused WOC-owned jewelry brands.
The New Normal: Ethical Jewelry Made By Women of Color for Every Woman
In the past, ethical sourcing in the jewelry world was barely a niche sector of the industry offered by just a small number of independent designers and businesses. Nowadays it’s the new normal, as the demand for ethical jewelry continues to influence the market and intersect with the movement to support BBIWoC-led businesses (Black, Brown, and/or Indigenous Women of Color). The beauty of this monumental shift is that it places real women from diverse backgrounds at the forefront of an industry catering to women, not cold and faceless corporations whose bottom line is profits over principles, people, and the planet.
At Shana Gulati Jewelry, our founder/chief designer creates exquisitely-crafted and ethically-sourced jewelry to align and adorn the mind, body, and soul. Using contemporary and traditional designs inspired by her native India and hometown of New York City, Shana imbues quality materials with authentic workmanship to create timeless, elegant jewelry forged with a unique combination of style, artistry, and spirit.
Each piece is handmade in Jaipur, India, set in sterling silver, and tested to be cadmium-free, nickel-free, and hypoallergenic.
Pieces in gold are gold vermeil, a process where we apply a thick coating of gold to sterling silver—this allows us to meld pure metals together without nickel or other inferior metal alloys. Plus, all of the diamonds in our pieces are made of authentic eco-friendly up-cycled diamonds; which are repurposed instead of newly mined, so there’s virtually zero impact on the environment and surrounding communities.
Discover 4 Ethical Jewelry Collections Made By A Woman of Color—Independent Jewelry Designer Shana Gulati
Explore authentic artisan-made gemstone jewelry, designed with ethical sourcing in mind by Shana Gulati.
Effortless and exquisite, our Rishi pendant features one jagged edge outlined by paved diamonds and a lightning bolt inlaid with raw diamonds. Available in multiple colors and styles.
Style meets sustainability and substance. The breathtaking beauty of these long, dangling earrings, featuring a geometric design, comes alive by the starry shimmer of authentic raw and uncut up-cycled diamonds. Available in multiple colors and styles.
Bold and sophisticated, our Ajmer Ring is a wear-everywhere statement piece you can put on for any occasion, day or night. Stack it with your favorite minimalist rings for the perfect pairing or simply wear it solo. Available in multiple colors and styles.
Emanate confidence and allure with this stand-out gold bangle. With a clasp-lock ensuring that it will fit almost everyone, the distinct design is accentuated by paved champagne diamonds dividing a line of raw diamonds. You will feel both elegant and fearless with this jewelry piece resting upon your wrist. Available in multiple colors and styles.
[style: Kangra Bangle YG]