The Goldsmiths’ Company has today announced a collaboration with Kassandra Lauren Gordon, a Black jeweller who wrote an open letter to the jewellery industry highlighting how current practices and systems limit accessibility and entry into the trade for Black people.
The letter also included a five-point plan to help increase the visibility of black jewellers in the industry and amplify their voices.
The collaboration is for two projects – the administration of the hardship fund, founded by Lauren (the Kassandra Lauren Gordon Fund) to provide financial support to Black jewellers and micro-businesses in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis; and one of the UK’s first social research projects into the experiences of Black British jewellers.
Lauren successfully raised £19,483 on her Go Fund Me page, launched in June, exceeding her £14,000 target. 328 supporters gave donations ranging from £5 to £5,000.
The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity donated an additional £6,000 to the fund and will administer the grants on its behalf, supporting 20 Black jewellers with grants of £1,000 each.
However, the charity will not decide who the grants will be awarded to – this will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges made up of industry figures.
As part of the collaboration, the Goldsmiths’ Company and Goldsmiths’ Centre will provide pro bono support to the Fund and to social research projects (survey and case studies) into the experience of British Black jewellers in the industry, led by Lauren.
The role of the Goldsmiths’ Company and the Goldsmiths’ Centre is to convene the industry and launch a survey. It is hoped that the data and case studies for the research report will help to inform the actions the industry could take to improve access, training and support for emerging and established Black jewellers and silversmiths in the UK.
The research is due to be published in the autumn.