18 Best Black-Owned Jewelry Brands 2020 | The Strategist

Tembe Denton Hurst

Tembe Denton-Hurst is a writer whose interests include shiny lip gloss and natural hair. Before the Strategist, she wrote about race and beauty for Nylon and Elle.

Photo: Retailers

There are lots of places to buy jewels and gems. But not all of them are exceptionally made, and certainly not all of them are both (relatively) affordable and have been worn by the likes of Erykah Badu. Enter: the Black-owned jewelry list, a compilation of rings, necklaces, hoops, chains, and finger caps from brands like Johnny Nelson (maker of a four-finger jewelry ring) and OMA the Label, which makes the kind of perfectly vintage-looking pieces you’ll want to slip on with every outfit.

Auvere Octavia Stack Ring Satin

Founded in 2017 by Gina Love and her husband, Steven Feldman, Auvere (which we’ve dubbed the best for high-end gold jewelry) makes handcrafted, high-karat gold jewelry in classic, timeless designs. One such design is this stackable, 22-karat polygon ring with a satin finish that can be customized to fit your finger.

Johnny Nelson Harriet Tubman Ring

Johnny Nelson Jewelry, which was also founded in 2017, is best known for honoring important cultural figures through wearable sculpture, which takes the form of necklaces and rings. The first time I saw Nelson’s jewelry up close was backstage at Pyer Moss’s NYFW spring/summer 2020 show, where the models wore the faces of Black music icons like Missy Elliott, Nina Simone, and Erykah Badu around their necks, in their hair, and on their hands. Before that, I spotted his effigies as buttons at the Met Gala — Kerby Jean-Raymond (the founder of and designer at Pyer Moss) wore his eight favorite rappers, and producer and actor Lena Waithe wore eight LGBTQ+ icons who have changed history. If you’re looking for an everyday piece consider this Harriet Tubman ring, which can be made in a variety of metals, including gold-plated brass, gold-plated silver, sterling silver, 14K white gold, and 14K yellow gold.

Yam Equilateral Hoop

Yam was founded in Astoria, Queens, by jewelry designer Morgan Thomas as a tribute to her late mother. Using upcycled materials, the brand creates jewelry with a vintage feel, ranging from delicate pearl earrings to chunky gold and Lucite hoops. These sculptural, triangular hoops appeared in Lizzo’s “Good As Hell” music video late last year, and pair well with everything from a bright-colored dress to a dressed-down white tee.

OMA the Label The Osaze Choker

This NYC-based brand is known for both its jewelry and elevated basic bodysuits. We’re particularly smitten with this 18K-gold-plated, vintage-inspired choker, which looks like a watchband and stacks well with other, more delicate pieces.

Edas Luna Earrings

When head designer and founder Sade Mims launched Edas, it was all about creating jewelry from unexpected home goods and refurbished pieces. In the years since, it’s become a full-on accessories brand, with pieces ranging from a clay-colored, cotton-lined baguette bag to these asymmetrical earrings, which are ultralightweight and handmade using Japanese seed beads and brass wire.

Third Crown Marcy Link Necklace & Bracelet

Founded by couple and co-designers Kristin and Kofi Essel, Third Crown draws its inspiration from geometric shapes and makes gender-neutral, everyday jewelry. Everything is gold- or brass-plated and features clean lines that pair with practically everything. This necklace-and-bracelet combo is part of their #powerofthepair collection, which combines popular pieces that can be worn by one person or shared between a couple.

Lelia+Mae Cole Huggies

For more affordable everyday pieces, we recommend Lelia+Mae, a woman-run brand that makes dainty, made-for-Instagram necklaces and vintage-looking rings. We like these huggie earrings, which have a wavy, braided texture and will only set you back $28.

Jam and Rico Kingston Earrings

Inspired by the sights and sounds of the Caribbean, Lisette Scott founded the brand as a way to honor her Puerto Rican and Jamaican roots. Her designs pull from classic Caribbean motifs like tropical plants and cowrie shells that show up in creations like these earrings, which are made from gold-plated brass and combine shells and geometric shapes.

L’Enchanteur Midas Touch Finger Caps

Twin designers Dynasty and Soull Ogun created L’Enchanteur as a way to redefine the heirloom, and they’re influenced by everything from fairy tales to numerology. Their designs have appeared in Beyoncé’s Ivy Park relaunch with Adidas (they made the custom rings) and Erykah Badu’s InStyle spread, where she wore metallic baby hairs crafted by the duo. If you’re on the hunt for something statement-making, we recommend the Midas Touch finger caps, which can be made from gold vermeil, sterling silver, or 14-karat gold.

Nikao Climbing Hoops Series 1

For an industrial take on hoop earrings, we recommend these carabiner-inspired ones from jewelry brand Nikao, founded by self-taught British designer Lisa-Marie Carter, and available in 18-karat gold and rhodium-plated brass. These are currently available for preorder, and will ship in September.

JeBlanc Spinal Cord Hoops

Another brand putting out utilitarian-looking jewels (think thick silver curb chains with dog tags and spinal-cord-inspired hoops) is JeBlanc, founded by designer Jeniece Blanchet in 2018. Most of the brand’s signature pieces are multifunctional, meaning you can wrap them around a few times for a chunky, layered-necklace look or even wear them as a belt. We like these hand-wired, futuristic-looking hoops from the brand, made from stainless steel.

We Dream in Colour Lilac Comet Earrings

Founded by designer Jade Gedeon in 2002, We Dream in Colour handcrafts vintage- and antique-inspired pieces that range from intricate, elaborate chandelier-style earrings to statement-making hairpins. We’re particularly fond of these comet-inspired earrings, which look vaguely like the Matisse blobs we’ve been seeing all over Instagram and are made from hand-painted enamel.

Human Before Handles Roxie Earrings

These acrylic, color-blocked link earrings from Atlanta-based brand Human Before Handles are only $40, and have a three-inch drop that will zhuzh up even the most basic look.

Octave Jewelry Trio Drops in Mother of Pearl Mix

On the fine-jewelry front there’s Octave Jewelry, a Brooklyn-based brand that makes sterling-silver pieces inlaid with hand-cut stones. Inspired by the color palette of modern art, these earrings are long enough to make a statement, but light enough not to weigh down your earlobe, and feature three different colors of mother-of-pearl: white, golden, and iridescent.

Made by Malyia Boundless Choker

Former fashion buyer Malyia McNaughton founded Made by Malyia in 2014 after friends and strangers alike began asking where she got the body chain she wore every day (she made it herself). In the years since, her designs have appeared everywhere from the show Insecure (Issa wears the brand’s Permanence necklace in season three, episode six) to the neck of singer Jazmine Sullivan, who has been seen wearing the collection. We’re partial to this wire choker, which comes in silver and 14-karat gold-fill, and has a simple wraparound design. It’s currently available for preorder, and is shipping in two to three weeks.

Stella & Haas Old English Zodiac Necklace

Elisa Johnson of SelectedByElisa.com is a fan of these necklaces from Stella and Haas, which she stumbled upon while doing research for her platform, which features Black-owned brands and creators. The Utah-based brand sells nameplate necklaces and chunky, braided hoops, all at affordable prices. Johnson is a fan of this Old English–style astrology nameplate necklace in particular, calling it a “favorite of mine, and the type of thing you could easily layer.”

The Bead Culture Waist Beads in Cognac

I’ve been wearing waist beads for the past five years, and while I typically buy mine from the same vendor at Afropunk who ties and burns them on-site, these from Memphis-based company the Bead Culture are a good option. The hand-beaded strands are available in a range of shades and are customized to fit your waist.

Ora Ana The Gaudi Choker

Founded by Veronika Payne, Ora Ana makes simple but statement-making jewelry plated with 18-karat gold. We like this choker from the brand in particular, made from cubic zirconia and available in rose gold or gold-plated brass.

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The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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