In 2021, the jewellery industry was set abuzz when Sotheby’s announced its ground-breaking selling exhibition “Brilliant & Black: A Jewellery Renaissance,” showcasing the extraordinary skill, imagination and craftsmanship of black jewellery designers from the 1950s to the present day. Almost a year later, I teamed up with Sotheby’s once again for the second iteration of the acclaimed exhibition, which took place in London in September 2022, coinciding with Black History Month.
Entitled “Brilliant & Black: The Age of Enlightenment,” the new London edition was bigger in scale than the original New York show, offering more than seventy pieces from a roster of twenty-five exclusively contemporary designers. All participating artists created one new piece in response to my overarching theme of Enlightenment, a period which represents, “a time of growth, individualism and intellectual reason.” This theory of expansion was realized by the appearance of seven new artists, including Gina Love, Sewit Sium, Ndidi Ekubia and Latoya Boyd.
The idea was to continue celebrating black talent, even though for many, the intensity of social change following the murder of George Floyd had slowed. It was an expansion of that moment in New York the previous year, ameans of forging ahead to a future where black designers are celebrated routinely at the top level. We didn’t have a $1M ring this time but we moved closer to art, with an understanding that intrinsic value seemed to matter less. This period we find ourselves in is a type of modern enlightenment and our voices are being heard more than ever. As always, thanks go to the collectors who continued to support us and Sotheby’s to whom I am eternally grateful.
The artists featured were: Harwell Godfrey, Jacqueline Rabun, Johnny Nelson, Lorraine West, Disa Allsopp, Thelma West, VANLELES, Castro NYC, ALMASIKA, Marei Fine Jewelry, Latoya Boyd, Matturi Fine Jewellery, Melanie Eddy Jewellery, Sheryl Jones Jewels, Ten Thousand Things, Lola Fenhirst, Jariet Oduto, Maggi Simpkins, Sewit Sium, Shola Branson, Karen Smith, Pascale Marthine Tayou via Elisabetta Cipriani gallery, Roxanne Rajcommar-Hadden, Ndidi Eubia and Gina Love and they surpassed all our expectations.
(Terry Castro of Castro NYC sadly passed away on 18th July 22 and we are gratefully exhibited his work, courtesy of his family. We miss him everyday).
Images: Courtesy of DeMarcus Allen
Original page: https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/brilliant-and-black
The Public exhibition ran in-person 22 September to 2nd October 2022 and continues on Sotheby’s Buy Now Marketplace.