The jewelry community has come together to raise funds for Hope and Homes for Children, an NGO currently working in Ukraine, in an initiative organized by Vanity Fair on Jewellery editor Annabel Davidson with the Cruzeiro Mine in Brazil. Contemporary jewelry designers including Ara Vartanian and Jessica McCormack have so far helped raise over $25,000 by creating exclusive pieces using yellow and blue Cruziero stones, for a series of prize draws as part of the Jewels for Ukraine project. This week, it’s the turn of Brazilian-born designer Ana Khouri, who has donated a pair of yellow beryl and blue indicolite tourmaline ear cuffs, as the jewelry industry comes together to support as many Ukrainian children in need, as possible.
When Russia invaded Ukraine, Vanity Fair on Jewellery editor Annabel Davidson was in Brazil visiting Cruzeiro Mine, a family-run gemstone mine in Minas Gerais state, to the North of São Paolo. The mine takes a conscious approach to producing tourmaline, quartz, morganite, aquamarine and garnet, and cuts and polishes all its own rough stones in-house. Annabel came across blue indicolite tourmaline and yellow heliodor in the colors of the Ukrainian flag during her visit, and the seed of an idea was sown.
“I desperately wanted to help,” she says. “The thought of children, not having parents to look after them, their carers having to flee and then being warehoused in the Ukrainian orphanage system was just so heartbreaking.” CEO of Cruzeiro, Douglas Neves, was onboard immediately and agreed to donate Cruzeiro stones to selected jewelers, who have each designed and made an exclusive piece in tribute to the Ukrainian people. “We may be oceans apart, but we were eager to help and bring together effort, material, and people we know, to join Annabel’s action to support Ukrainians that are going through this violence,” he says.
Initially, seven jewelers agreed to take part – Brazilian designers Carla Amorim, Ara Vartanian, Prasi, and Kika Alvarenga, as well as London-based Jessica McCormack, New York-based Ana Khouri, and Los Angeles-based Maggi Simpkins – with Ruth Tomlinson and Sophie Breitmeyer in the pipeline to launch over the coming weeks. Each designer has designed and donated a piece of jewelry for the appeal, bearing the cost of their time and the materials used to showcase the Cruzeiro stones, and the team are keen to encourage other jewelry designers who would like to be involved, to get in touch.
A prize draw for each jewel runs for three weeks on JustGiving.com, during which time participants can donate as little as $10 (£10 or €10) for a chance to win the piece of their choice, all of which are worth substantially more. Once the brand has picked a winner at random, 100% of donations are passed on to Hope and Homes for Children, to support their teams working on the ground in Ukraine. For the charity, it’s a chance to raise both funds and awareness for their work, while jewelry brands have the opportunity to take tangible action to help the most vulnerable children in Ukraine today.
As he launched the draw for his mismatched heliodor and indicolite tourmaline diamond earrings, above, Ara Vartanian wrote on Instagram: “We have been deeply moved by the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. Like so many, we want to do something to help and are honored to be a part of the jewels for Ukraine project.” The Sao Paolo-based jeweler is known for his bold shapes, sharp points and the thoroughly modern take on larger stones that has won him an international following.
Mariana Prates and Helena Sicupira of Prasi decided to rework the ear of wheat, a traditional Ukrainian motif representing property, abundance and fertility, in two-tone gold brooch, above, with yellow beryl and blue indicolite tourmaline. “It was challenging and exciting to make a piece of jewelry that is at first glance so distinct from what we usually design,” wrote the designers, whose modernist fine jewelry is stocked around the world. “At the same time, it became very Prasi-like.”
Now it’s the turn of New York-based artist Ana Khouri, whose sculptural, modern jewels have won her a cult following; including Zoe Kravitz, Julianna Moore and Vice President Kamala Haris. Her mismatched yellow beryl and blue indicolite tourmaline ear cuffs, top, are emblematic of her sensual, contemporary style and commitment to ethically sourced materials including Fairmined and Fairtrade gold and responsibly sourced gemstones.
According to the charity, over 5.4 million children live in institutions around the world, up to 100,000 of whom are in Ukraine’s huge 700-building orphanage system. “The majority of those who experience life inside an orphanage suffer violence, abuse, and neglect. Denied the chance to grow up in a family, they’re more likely to become homeless later in life, to have run-ins with the law, and to experience mental and physical health issues,” says a Hope and Homes for Children spokesperson.
The organization has been working for nearly 30 years to find community-based alternatives to institutionalization for children who have been separated from their own families, and are at risk of trafficking. Hope and Homes for Children teams are currently working on the ground in Ukraine, Moldova and Romania to keep children safe, providing practical help in Kyiv, Lviv and Dnipro and intervening to help families stay together with access to food, water, shelter and emotional support, as well as care and monitoring for unaccompanied children.
By any measure, the Russian invasion of Ukraine represents a safeguarding emergency for children, both those living in the country’s children’s care system and those from families forced apart, as mothers flee the country with their children while their partners have no choice but to stay behind. “Hope and Homes was a charity that understood this devastating scenario,” says Annabel, “I knew I could help by rallying the jewelry industry to bring attention to their cause.”
So click, share, and donate to be a part of an international appeal – and you might just walk away with an incredible piece of contemporary jewelry.
Follow Annabel Davidson on Instagram for more information when a new piece enters the prize draw.
Designers who would like to be included in the initiative should contact Ruth Avey at Hope and Homes for Children, with a brief description of the jewelry piece they would like to donate.