Jameel Mohammed de Khiry on natural diamonds, his brand and the future – JCK

Looking back to look forward: This is how fine jewelry designer and multimedia artist Jameel Mohammed thinks about both his personal brand Khiry as well as the completion of his tenure as one of the first members of the inaugural group of the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative (EDDI).

Mohammed is one of six original members of EDDI, a partnership between the Natural Diamond Council (NDC) and designer Lorraine Schwartz. The group as a whole has been hugely successful – their first diamond collection excelled at its Moda Operandi trunk show, secured an exclusive spot at Greenwich St. Jewelers and was recognized at the 2022 Gem Awards during the keynote speech. acceptance of Schwartz for its Jewelry Style award.

Individually, Mohammed has received numerous accolades from media celebrating his workarticles asking for her comment on equity and inclusion in the jewelry industry, a nomination for American Emerging Designer of the Year at the 2021 CFDA Fashion Awards, and a 2021 member of the “30 under 30 in art and style » for Forbes magazine.

Khiry Ring
Jameel Mohammed says his spiked ring is a meditation on the role communities play in protecting the things they value. Spike network ring in 18 carat gold covered with black rhodium of 2.26 cts. two diamonds ($12,000).

While this first class EDDI graduated – his term ended in April – and the new band is coming in, Mohammed says the experience will have a lasting impact on him personally as an artist. He will also continue to inform how he hopes his work will impact future generations.

“This experience has made me more aware of the leverage I have as an artist to shape the experiences of future generations of artists and creatives,” says Mohammed. “Because we came in as the first class, we were able to provide a ton of feedback to NDC to grow the program while participating in and benefiting from the program. It was an enduring example of how creative art can allow you to make changes in society.

Mohammed joined EDDI with Khiry, an Afrofuturist luxury brand he founded in 2016. Khiry is his middle name and means ‘health and fortune’. Mohammed is a lifelong dancer, and his career as a jeweler began when he created a necklace while a student at the University of Pennsylvania, and a fashion executive from Barneys New York noticed his talent. ; he had been doing his own art on shoes and clothes since he was a teenager. Mohammed joined Barneys as an intern, learning merchandising and retail buying.

Khiry diamond earrings
With his small solo spike hoops in 18 carat gold with 0.18 ct. tw diamonds, Mohammed says it asks the wearer to think about how only they affect the world around them ($6,500).

With his own brand, Mohammed seeks to take the conventions of luxury fashion and use them as a lens to examine the value of black life and culture, he says. He describes his work as fine, sculptural jewelry that embodies “the strength, beauty, power and romance of the African diaspora”.

EDDI’s goal was to level the playing field when it comes to both access to and use of natural diamonds in fine jewelry, which Mohammed says helped spur his own work and the potential of its brand.

“I think it allowed me to reach a new level of the brand’s vision of Afrofuturist luxury and know that the pieces that were created within that vision will have an enduring role in the lives of the people who own them. and, perhaps, even in future generations of their families,” says Mohammed. “This kind of cultural authority is what is unique to luxury goods and would not have been possible without natural diamonds.”

Khiry Necklace
of Muhammad Toussaint link-chain necklace in 18 carat gold with 0.66 ct. tw diamonds and was inspired by the sword of Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture ($11,000).

The pieces he has created over the last six years of his brand and through his association EDDI have been influenced by his experiences, his dance training and the black women in his life, says Mohammed. There is movement, energy and life in these pieces, and the brand reflects that.

“Some of my most formative experiences as an artist and the most significant contributions to my eye as a designer were my formative experiences as a dancer in middle school and high school,” says Mohammed. “My dance background was incredibly multicultural and had a strong emphasis on black cultural traditions, and now that my work seeks to communicate the beauty and reality of black life, I find myself going back to imagery and aesthetics. dance about form, gesture and how lines can communicate a wide range of ideas and images.

“These experiences were some of the most beautiful and graceful portrayals of black women I was given growing up, and it’s that energy I seek to bring to the brand proposition today,” says Mohammed.

“For me, art has always been a way of dealing with the world in an intentional and laborious way, but also in a way that I couldn’t fully comprehend as a child and probably can’t fully understand now; and yet, doing this job has certain benefits for my nervous system and my sense of spending my life pursuing a purpose.

Top: Jameel Mohammed says his life experiences as well as his thoughts on black culture have inspired the jewelry he chooses to create (photos courtesy of the Natural Diamond Council).

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Sarah C. Figueiredo