‘NYCJW Supports All Facets Of The Jewellery Landscape’

JB Jones and Bella Neyman, Co-Founders of The NYC Jewelry Week that is scheduled from 14th-20th November share their insight into their jewellery universe and what’s new at their upcoming show.

JB Jones & Bella Neyman met serendipitously. Their interests came together in the most wonderful way. The duo curated an exhibition together about the intersection of studio jewellery and street art and never looked back. “Actually, we work well together because our backgrounds really complement each other and what we want to do with NYC Jewelry Week. I am a design historian-writer-curator, JB is a marketing guru-gallerist/-trendwatcher, so we each have areas that we focus on and balance each other out,” says Bella.

They co-founded the NYC Jewelry Week (NYCJW) to celebrate jewellery by building bridges between audience and industry, providing access to opportunities for makers and entrepreneurs, passing the mic to diverse voices, and building a stronger community together.

JB Jones and Bella Neyman

JB Jones began her career as a Design Director and Fashion Editor in Los Angeles. In 2008, JB switched gears and launched The Site Unscene, a street art gallery and artists’ platform. She curated the first West Coast exhibition of the NYC based graffiti crew TC-5, which included the work of Doze Green and Lady Pink, and was a leader in helping to establish street art as a legitimate force in the LA gallery scene. Upon moving to NYC in 2014, JB returned to fashion in a retail development capacity with a focus on jewellery.

Bella Neyman is an independent curator and journalist specialising in contemporary jewellery. Since graduating with a Master’s Degree in Decorative Arts and Design History from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum & Parsons, The New School for Design in 2008, she has worked for some of New York City’s leading design galleries. Bella is on the Board of Art Jewelry Forum.

“We believe that jewellery is for everyone, and it is essential that our platform reflect that belief,” say the co-founders. “The NYCJW platform supports all facets of the jewellery landscape … by providing innovative and educational programming, and strategic initiatives supporting growth and development within and outside of the industry,” say the co-founders.

What inspired you to launch this wonderful initiative? 

We launched NYCJW in 2018 and wanted to create something that was ours but that would also serve the creative industry – we were working together in the jewellery retail space and saw a need for an event that would unite the community but also bring visibility and selling opportunities to independent jewellery artists and designers who were struggling to find a client for their work.

You have partnered with consultant and life-coach Elliot Carlyle to begin HERE WE ARE. Has the vision for NYCJW evolved in the recent past?

Yes, partnering with Elliot Carlyle really expanded what we could do with the NYCJW platform. As our Director of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion, Elliot’s vision for HERE WE ARE allowed us to deepen our involvement in the NYC jewellery community, offer support for underrepresented voices in the industry and, as we see now four years into the initiative, have a great impact on the jewellery industry as a whole in that sphere. HERE WE ARE offers its participants access to our global audience, access to education and opportunities from experts in the field and a community of support. Each year, we highlight the HERE WE ARE participants within the NYCJW programming – panels, webinars and exhibitions – and this year is no exception. We have some incredible talent in HERE WE ARE from across the US.


Tell us more about the hybrid format of your programme. Has it been well embraced by the jewellery industry?

The jewellery industry is very much in support of our hybrid model. Adding virtual programming into our offering in 2020 allowed us to reach well beyond NYC and not only share our programme with the world, but also include participants from anywhere in the programme. The possibilities are now endless, and it’s really up to our participants to explore that – to use their imagination to create programs, exhibitions and conversations virtually that can push the boundaries of what a jewellery week can be. We are streamed in over 35 countries now. And on the other side of it, the in-person part of the hybrid model, remains hugely important. We are an NYC business, and we think it’s the best jewellery city in the world. There are so many incredible creatives in the city that we are still discovering, and we love to share these physical places, and meet the makers in person. And meeting the attendees and experiencing jewellery in-person really can’t be beat, because really, we’re all about that community.

What are your marquee programmes? 

Our two marquee programmes, HERE WE ARE and One for the Future, are dedicated to equity and mentorship, while also focussing on educational partnerships, a BIPOC residency, and HWA Funding Awards. Since 2020, we have included programming from South African Jewellery Week and students and alumni from the University of Johannesburg. This was a virtual programme.

What can visitors expect from the November show?

We are still developing the programme, as we speak but our theme for this year’s programme is joy and human connection. We thought this was a good year to celebrate and uplift both consumers and designers. Our programme will be in-person and virtual, which is exciting because it allows for us to continue building our audience but also to include speakers and participants from around the world.

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