By Hilary Mare
THE De Beers Group has announced the nine regional finalists in this year’s Shining Light Awards, which recognise emerging jewellery designers in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and provide them with a valuable platform to build their careers in the jewellery design industry.
The finalists, three from each country, were selected for their captivating jewellery designs, from more than 130 entries.
Entrants were required to create a jewellery collection that represented this year’s design brief theme of ‘Protecting Nature’s Beauty’, which was set by Forevermark, and which recognises the De Beers Group’s and Forevermark’s commitment to conservation and sustainability.
The focus of the awards has evolved over recent years, moving away from designing and producing intricate artistic pieces, to more commercial jewellery collections, which would appeal to a broader consumer market.
The winners will be announced at a red carpet event in Windhoek on 30 November.
For the first time since the competition’s inception, there will be prizes for first, second and third in each of the participating countries.
The winners will receive a one-year apprenticeship with Forevermark at its Design and Innovation Centre in Milan, Italy for the overall winners, a three-month internship with Forevermark at its Design and Innovation Centre for the second prize winners and participation in a jewellery design skills development programme at a regional institution for the third prize winners.
Targeting a niche segment of design students, De Beers Group and Forevermark conducted regional road shows and workshops to attract entrants, and engage with students across universities and technical colleges in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
Workshops were conducted in 2016, at nine universities regionally, including Botho University and Oodi College of Arts in Botswana, the University of Namibia, the College of Arts, the International University of Business Management, the Tshwane University of Technology, the Durban University of Technology, the University of Johannesburg and the College of Cape Town.
Pat Dambe, Vice-President Corporate Affairs and Government Relations at De Beers Global Sight Holder Sales, said: “De Beers Group is committed to ensuring that the youth in the countries of our diamond producer partners benefit from the diamond industry.
“Through the Shining Light Awards, we are providing a platform to nurture and develop emerging talent, while also highlighting the positive opportunities that exist along the diamond value chain. We have been blown away by the level of talent across our partner countries, and the beautiful and creative designs that were developed by our nine finalists.”
Costantino Papadimitriou, Senior Vice-President Brand Strategy and Innovation at Forevermark, said: “Forevermark is proud to support and nurture emerging jewellery design talent in diamond producing countries. The Shining Light Awards is a fantastic platform for the next generation of designers to realise their creative potential, while also providing valuable links with the industry.
“For this year’s competition, Forevermark was honoured to set the design brief, which has been inspired by our brand’s values and promise of protecting nature’s beauty. It has been fascinating to see the different responses to this brief and the innovative jewellery collections featuring one of Forevermark’s beautiful, rare and responsibly sourced diamonds at the heart.”
The Shining Light Awards, now in their 20th year in South Africa and in their eighth year in Botswana and Namibia, are part of the De Beers Young Jewellery Designers Skills Development Initiative, designed to support beneficiation efforts in the De Beers Group’s producer countries across Southern Africa. The awards support the development of the participants’ business skills in the areas of jewellery design, manufacturing, and sales and marketing.
The 2016/2017 Shining Lights Awards finalists are:
• Botswana: Gaone Otsile, Tshepo Dithebele and Mbako Baraedi
• Namibia: Richardlee Shoombee, Frans Uunona and Taleni Udeiko
• South Africa: Omphile Sibanda, Gabrielle Lourens and Andile Mbeje.
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