By Michael MacDonald


The Diamond District is a few blocks radius in midtown Manhattan. It’s an extremely nondescript area where most of the shops have modest exteriors. If you weren’t familiar with the Diamond District, then you would have no idea that millions of dollars flow through the small area everyday, as it serves as the center point for the New York jewelry market.

Jewelers like “Jacob the Jeweler” were made famous by rappers dropping fortunes on custume watches and chains.

Most people only think about jewelry from a consumers perspective, but there is a long process that happens before an item is displayed on a store window.

The process before retail for jewelry is manufacturing. The process of making jewelry involves tidious labor, industrial ovens and precise hand craftsmanship.

There is almost no people of color that own any part of the jewelry industry on any level in the Diamond District. The one exception to that is Dion Smith, CEO of @ajcjewelry. AJC Jewelry is the only black-owned jewelry manufacturing company in the Diamond District.

Dion grew up in the South Bronx which is a few miles away from the Diamond District but a world apart in wealth and access. He watched his father who immigrated from Belize work as a craftsman for a jeweler and grew up in the jewelry business, learning every aspect of it from bottom to top. His journey from low-level worker to being a boss of a mulit million dollar operation is made for a Hollywood script.

In episode 67 of @earnyourleisure, Dion gave us an inside look into the extremely secretive world of the jewelry business. He also covered his journey in detail.

EYL 67 will be out today at 5 pm est.

Article By @radhadbilal