January 10, 2023—At the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Keke Palmer demonstrated just how groundbreaking diamond jewelry can be. The pregnant and radiant Nope star, who received the Best Supporting Actress award, sparkled in a Michael Kors Collection gown lit up with a Lorraine West suite of diamond and rose gold jewels.
The modern take on diamonds are part of the De Beers and Radvocacy initiative that supplies Black designers with ethically and sustainably sourced diamonds from Botswana to make something special. And it pairs them with world class stylists to give their creations (and in turn their collections) exposure on important red carpets.
Over her decades long career Lorraine has bejeweled several celebrities and even more musicians. The beloved Brooklyn based designer worked closely with Erykah Badu for years. Beyoncé wore Lorraine’s signature Palette earrings in her 2020 Black Is King video. And last year at the Met Gala, Lizzo stood out among the fashion crowd in a Thom Browne ensemble paired with a stack of 36 of Lorraine’s neck bangles.
With her link to the music world, it’s no surprise Lorraine found inspiration for diamond jewels in legendary artists Josephine Baker and Minnie Riperton.
The Shooting Star Choker is a tribute to Josephine Baker, the way she wore necklaces as well as the sets used for her performances. “A lot of her staging and sets were celestial themed,” explains Lorraine. “I wanted to bring the concept into the present.”
A master metalsmith, Lorraine spent a lot of time working on the balance of the jewel and hinge mechanism to make a comfortable and easy-to-wear piece. One round and three pear shape diamonds accent the ends of the gold arms. All of them are just over 1-carat.
Lorraine’s Abstract Baby’s Breath Vine Earring was inspired by singer-song writer Minnie Riperton who is known for her 1975 hit “Lovin’ You,” her four octave D₃ to F♯₇ coloratura soprano range and being the mother of actress Maya Rudolph.
“The Baby’s Breath Minnie often wore in her hair was in my mind when I made the earrings,” explains Lorraine.
Lorraine created the Vine Crawler Earring to coordinate with the Baby’s Breath Vine Earring. Seven round diamonds weighing a total of 4.65-carats accent the two jewels.
Keke’s look was finished off with several Slither Rings. The movement and style of the jewels combines the aesthetics from the choker and earrings.
Find out more about the designs and listen in on the conversations between Lorraine and Keke Palmer’s stylist Wayman and Micah in the video below.
Beyoncé’s Jewelry in Black Is King
Josephine Baker’s Art Deco Jewels
The Power and Love of Designer Lorraine West