British jeweller Roxanne Rajcoomar-Hadden has joined forces with the Natural Diamond Council (NDC) to launch RRH Diamond Academy, a mentoring and networking programme developed to help ten talented emerging designers from diverse backgrounds break into the fine jewellery industry.

The programme is designed to help combat the barriers to entering the jewellery industry, especially for people from minority groups and without the right network of contacts.

It is a chance for emerging designers of any age who have a talent for diamond jewellery design to pursue their dreams of becoming successful fine jewellers.

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The successful applicants will take part in a 10-day programme including education on everything from jewellery design to PR and marketing.

The application process is open now and closes on 9 August. Meanwhile, the academy dates run across two weeks, one in September and another in October, at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London.

Applications will be judged by a panel, some of whom have given comment below.

Roxanne Rajcoomar-Hadden explained: “Starting a career in the fine jewellery industry was a challenging journey with many hurdles.

“With very little representation in the industry, I struggled to see where I fitted in.

“I strongly believe the fine jewellery category needs to look for more talent from diverse backgrounds to drive a new creative vision in the designs we are seeing.

“I am looking forward to sharing all I have learnt on my own journey.”

Lisa Levinson, head of marketing and communications UK at the Natural Diamond Council, said: “We recognise that it can be difficult to break into the diamond industry.

“Through this programme we want to make sure that designers with talent and drive from all backgrounds can pursue their dreams without any obstacles.

“We are really looking forward to seeing the talent that comes through and hope to help launch the careers of the next super star diamond jewellers.”

Melanie Grant, luxury editor at The Economist 1843, added: “We need to hear all the voices in our industry for it to evolve and continue to appeal to a global audience. That is simple business logic.”

Rachel Garrahan, jewellery editor at British Vogue, commented: “There are too many barriers to entry for people of diverse backgrounds who want to enter the jewellery industry.

“I’m excited to be able to play a small part in helping Roxanne create more opportunities for exciting young talent, and hope that as an industry, we can create a more level playing field in the long term.”