Vintage Set, 1965

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Winifred Mason Chenet (1918 – 1993) is recognized as a pioneering Black jewelry designer. Many consider her the first commercial Black jeweler in the United States. She was born in Brooklyn, NY. An exceptional student, Mason earned a bachelors degree in English Literature and a masters degree in teaching from NYU. After teaching crafts for several years through the Junior Achievement program, she was awarded a Rosenwald Fund grant. The grant provided her with the resources to go to Haiti, where she created jewelry that paid homage to the spiritual and cultural aspects of the island. Upon returning to the U.S., her jewelry sales began to take off. Most of Mason’s jewelry pieces were made of copper. She never repeated a design, making each one of her pieces one-of-a-kind originals.

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