November 21, 2021—Talking with Lorraine West is never about run-of-the-mill routine chit-chat. The designer has such a passion for the art and craft of jewelry, conversations get into the process and what it means quickly.
When I reached Lorraine, whose sensational jewels have been worn by countless stars including Beyoncé, Viola Davis and Zendaya, to find out about her latest project—as per usual—our discussion went deep. Lorraine shared all the details of the designers she assembled in her role as ambassador for Muse’s latest Have A Heart Collaboration. The initiative, conceived by Muse co-founder Jennifer Shanker, invites influencers to put together a necklace of charms reflecting their style and sold with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a charity of their choice.
For her Have A Heart necklace, Lorraine curated the work of four Black jewelry designers: Aziza-Abdullah of Aziza Handcrafted, Johnny Nelson, Sewit Sium and Soull Ogun of L’Enchanteur. Lorraine met this group in 2019 at New York City Jewelry Week’s Here We Are program. Lorraine’s Have a Heart necklace was presented during this year’s NYCJW and picked up on its 2021 theme, the Power of Jewelry.
“We are all Black jewelers in this collaboration and want to uplift and ascend as humans and bring that power to the people who wear our jewelry,” explains Lorraine. “Our work, is sacred to us. It keeps us alive and awakened and connected on a cellular spiritual level.”
Ten percent of the proceeds from the sales of the jewels in the collection will be donated to RAINN. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. “As a sexual abuse survivor, I know it is hard to know who to turn to,” says Lorraine. “This hotline is a resource that provides help and healing.”
Find out about each of the charms and the designers who made them in the Have a Heart necklace Lorraine curated for Muse below.
Lorraine West Open Heart Charm
“My ruby and 18 karat gold open heart is inspired by love,” says Lorraine. “The idea is to keep your heart open to receive the love you’re worthy of. The color of the rubies, that pinkish red, is a healing color. First chakra red tones are grounding and you need to be grounded to ascend.”
Lorraine’s heart, like several charms in the collection, is reversible. The rubies can be worn against the chest or facing out. It is on a swivel lock bail
Sewit Sium Cosmos Key Charm
“When worn, the Cosmos Key is a reminder to be you. Follow your bliss and doors will open for you in ways you can’t conceive,” explains Sewit.
The 14-karat gold key has an engraved pattern and white sapphire on the front. The reverse is also engraved with moons and stars.
Aziza Handcrafted Edan Charm
“Edan means prosperity, however that may look to you, always put love behind it,” explains Aziza-Abdullah of Aziza Handcrafted. Her reversible 14 karat gold design has hearts on one side and a dollar sign on the other.
Johnny Nelson All Power Fist
“My work is based on uplifting my culture and taking that wider to all disadvantaged people: the fist is about all power to all people—whether they are Black, lower-class White, Latino, Asian—I want people to step into their power,” explains Johnny Nelson.
The openwork 14 karat gold piece is a variation the designer makes and wears as an earring. “I asked Johnny to transform it into a charm for the collab,” says Lorraine.
Soull and Dynasty Ogun of L’Enchanteur Seer Extra Terra Astral Charm
The Seer Extra Terra Astral Charm was “inspired by the many-faced God concept that God/The All comes with many faces to express and experience life happening, using the Astral/Soul Body to heal the physical body. A Method in Mystic Healing” explains Soull Ogun of L’Enchanteur.
The jewel is composed of a 60-carat yellow sapphire, 3-carats of spessartite marquise shaped stones, a small diamond and a 2-carat heart shape garnet. “The heart is the mouth as a symbol for speaking words of love,” says Lorraine.