Actor, singer and songwriter Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has teamed up with renowned jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz to launch a scholarship opportunity aimed at Black jewelry professionals. The Beyoncé Knowles-Carter x Lorraine Schwartz GIA Scholarship will fund full tuition and expenses for two applicants to study at the Gemological Institute of America, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing jewelry education, on a virtual Distance Education course.
Successful applicants will earn a place on GIA’s prestigious Graduate Gemologist program, which provides comprehensive knowledge and the technical skills needed to evaluate gemstones based on several internationally recognized systems, including the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat weight), the International Diamond Grading System and the Coloured Stone Grading System. Taught via GIA’s Distance Education program, the Graduate Gemologist course will be a combination of virtual classes and assessments to be taken on the student’s own schedule and several on-campus lab sessions.
The concept for the scholarship was initially born from Beyoncé and Schwartz’s longstanding friendship and shared passion for jewelry: Schwartz gifted the singer with one place on the Graduate Gemologist course to allocate as she pleased, with the GIA matching the funds for a second place on the program.
[See also: The Sustainable Jewelry Brands You Need to Know]
“It is an honor to have this scholarship in my name, but the best part is teaming up with my friend Lorraine Schwartz to give two people an opportunity to learn,” said Beyoncé. “We both believe that learning is constant. This is a chance to learn from the best, create generational wealth and turn a love of gems into a career.”
Lorraine Schwartz is often referred to as a celebrity jewelry designer having made pieces for the likes of Oprah and Lady Gaga. The designer has been involved in a number of philanthropic initiatives throughout her career, with a focus on improving accessibility and diversifying the jewelry industry, including the recent Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative which offered a share of a $1m diamond credit to BIPOC jewelry designers.
“This scholarship is a homage to Beyoncé for the inspiration she’s given me throughout my career,” said Schwartz. “It’s about the love formed from relationships and knowing that at the end of the day, we are all the same. Now I have the opportunity to bring that inspiration full circle and show the community the endless possibilities that are in this industry, especially for Black professionals.”
The Beyoncé Knowles-Carter x Lorraine Schwartz scholarship is accepting applications until March 16.