After a recent fact-finding trip to Botswana and South Africa to see if - & how - diamonds were empowering Africans where they are a natural resource, Russell Simmons started the non-profit Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.) under the aegis of his Simmons Jewelry Company to raise money for educational programs to uplift the people and communities of Africa. To raise funds for the D.E.F., he started the Green Initiative.
"Our trip to Botswana and South Africa was a wake up call to take action to support the growth of these amazing people," explains Simmons."The African people don't want a hand out, they need a hand up. What better way to do that than to engage them in the world of business? It's my intention for Simmons Jewelry Company to be an example to the jewelry industry that we can all benefit from giving back to Africa. I hope that one day, all the big companies have their own green lines and the good we've done as an industry will long lasting and deeply felt throughout Africa."
The Green Initiative collection is a unique combination of modern, traditional and inspirational hip-hop inspired jewelry in stainless steel, green rubber and diamonds. The line features the diamond encrusted Ohm Watch and Ohm pendant, as well as bracelets, pendants, chains and rings priced from $200 - $80,000. The first Green Initiative piece, the Green Bracelet - made from genuine native African green malachite beads and a rough African conflict-free diamond - has already shown up on the A-list wrists of Penelope Cruz, Paris Hilton, Gabrielle Union, Serena Williams, Eddie Murphy, T.I. & Beyonce.
For each piece of regular Green Initiative jewelry, 25% of the net profits goes directly to the D.E.F., however, for the Green Bracelet, it will be 50%. The bracelet will be available starting April 1 at SimmonsJewelryCo.com.
- Lesley Scott