De Beers 2018 Shinning Light Awards, an initiative that encourages young people from the De Beers countries; Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Canada to become competitive jewellery designers, were recently launched in Gaborone, alongside this year’s Diamond Conference.
The competition has existed for over 22 years in South Africa and almost 10 years in Botswana and Namibia, and was only launched in Canada this year. Young people from these producer countries have been urged to enter the competition in order to make sure that they produce African made work using the precious stones. The winners will be honoured with an opportunity to participate in a 12-month apprenticeship programme in Milan, Italy while the runners-up will win a three-months internship program at Forevermark or a design programme at a local design school.
Head of Brand Strategy and Innovation at De Beers Forevermark, Constantino Papadimitriou said that this opportunity has always improved the young people’s lives; “Over the years, we have seen how the Shining Light Awards have presented students with a great opportunity to develop their skills in Jewellery manufacturing. We are looking forward to seeing the journey they take in interpreting the theme and bringing it to life,” he said.
Executive Vice President at De Beers Group and CEO of Forevermark, Stephen Lussier also added that the Shining Light Awards have proven to be a valuable design platform to showcase talent and open opportunities for young people within the diamond sector and international markets. “This is in-line with De Beers Group objectives on beneficiation through skills development of the youth,” said Lussier.
The theme of 2018/2019 ‘Heroines and Heritage’ includes feminine elements that speak to women, evoke national pride as well as symbols of strength, heritage, wisdom and beauty. Acting Diamond Hub Coordinator in Botswana, Diana Moabe said that the theme has come at an opportune time where women are also encouraged to take part into different fields of the market. “The theme interrogates women and heritage which are the dynamics of the past and the future,” she said adding that the time is now, to get commercialised pieces at an affordable price.
“The more the number of women into leadership in businesses, the more profitable the businesses become,” Moabe said as she applauded Thamaga Pottery for the well done job, saying that empowering women is the most important procedure., hence the De Beers conference also had the W summit, to empower women.
Vice-President of Corporate Affairs and Government Relations, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales, Pat Dambe also said the awards are meaningful to the producer countries. “We have just concluded roadshows to all the four De Beers Group producer countries, where we visited various Universities to present to design students on the project and how they can become part of it. Reception has been great. Over the years, we have seen high quality submissions and we anticipate that this year the response will be even greater.”
The De Beers Designers Initiative has created the opportunity for the Shining Light Awards winners to attend the Faculty of Design at Milan Polytechnic as part of the company’s youth beneficiation strategy.
“We are very happy to have taken this into a scholarship programme to include Batswana, Namibians, South Africans and Canadian participants with aspirations to participate in the downstream of the diamond industry,” said Dambe. Local jewellery designers were encouraged to look out to these awards to benefit from the opportunity as well as sell Botswana as a diamond country with their superior talent.