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Monday, July 15, 2013

Diamond Empowerment Fund Unveils Jewelry And Watch Collection At Donna Distefano’s Atelier

Banneker watches, Royal Asscher Pendant and Donna Distefano “Illumination” bracelets that are being sold to fund DEF charities. Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

Jewelry industry representatives crowded into the Donna Distefano atelier in New York recently to view new products that will be sold to raise funds for educational programs in the diamond-producing countries of Africa.

Three members of the Diamond Empowerment Fund, a diamond industry charity, unveiled the following items, which are being called "Empowerment” products: A green tsavorite and diamond pendant from Royal Asscher, the Dutch diamond company; “Illumination” bracelets from goldsmith Donna Distefano; and three watches from the Banneker watch company. About 10 percent of the retail cost of each product will be donated to DEF.

DEF was co-founded by Russell Simmons, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Benjamin Chavis, civil rights and business leader, and diamond industry leaders. It provides higher education opportunities for youth in diamond producing countries of Africa.

The crowd attending the DEF event at the Donna Distefano Atelier. Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

Among those in attendance to show the new products were Distefano, Lita Asscher, president of Royal Asscher America, and Derrick Holmes, CEO of Banneker, Inc. Phyllis Bergman, DEF board president, and Nancy Orem Lyman, DEF executive director, were also in attendance. 

Distefano’s line of “Illumination” bracelets (pictured above) depicts symbolic African designs in sterling silver and diamonds. Each bracelet represents core values of DEF: transformation, tranquility and strength. The collection of three bracelets is made of suede with a silver and diamond and buckle. They retail for $200 each and are available through the Donna Distefano website. For every purchase, DEF receives a $20 donation. 

The DEF green tsavorite and diamond pendant (pictured above) is part of the Shining Stars of Africa collection by Royal Asscher. The pendant contains green tsavorite and diamonds encased in a fluid-filled natural sapphire dome allowing the jewels to fall freely like snowflakes in a snow globe. The price is $1,250 and can be purchased through the Royal Asscher website. With every pendant purchase, a $125 donation is made to DEF.

Banneker DEF watches (pictured above) have a Royal Asscher diamond at 12 o’clock, green crystals on the dial and bezel, and natural Ebony wood from Indonesia or Mahogany wood from Madagascar on the dial and band. All Banneker watches contain real wood as a way of paying homage to its namesake Benjamin Banneker who, in 1753, engineered and built the first working clock in America constructed entirely from parts he carved of wood. The “Euro Face” collection (gold and silver availability) retails for $390 and a $39 donation is made to DEF. The “Large Face” collection retails for $490 and $49 donation is made to DEF. The watches, which are scheduled to be available in time for the holidays, can be purchased through the company’s website.

Empowerment jewelry will also be available in the future through a dedicated DEF e-commerce website.

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