If you’re not familiar with Rachel Stewart Jewelry, you’ve no doubt seen her work. Coupling artisanal quality with themes that speak directly to the heart of Black cultural pride, Stewart in no time flat amassed a huge following, particularly amongst the natural hair crowd. Before she knew it, naturalistas the world over were proudly rocking afro pick and sister silhouette earrings; now Stewart counts celebrities Kim Coles, Nelly Furtado and Beyoncé’s band The Sugar Mamas amongst her fan base. Browse the Rachel Stewart Jewelry website and you’ll find everything from her signature earrings and brooches, fun hair pins and colorful clutches, as well as frame worthy photo and art prints.
Success came swiftly for the North Carolina native, but not without its challenges. In 2015 Stewart discovered her designs were being plagiarized and replicated overseas. As scores of cheap knockoffs from Asia began to flood the U.S. market, Stewart questioned the feasibility of continuing the online business. In an interview with The Root, frustrated by copy-cat manufacturers, the artist stated “At the end of the day I need to make money to support my family and if that’s not happening I won’t let my pride stop me from doing what I need to do. I’m still an artist, still a creative, still a maker that won’t change.”
Fast forward to 2017, and Rachel Stewart Jewelry is alive, kicking and doing better than ever. Most recently, Stewart had the distinct honor of her work being featured at the newly minted National Museum of African American History and Culture. Pop into the NMAAHC gift shop and you’ll see Rachel Stewart Jewelry prominently displayed.
If you’re not in the D.C. area or planning a trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, do check out Rachel Stewart Jewelry online. You’re bound to find something you love!