Shining Light Awards, which have been running for 19 years, provide opportunities for skills development and future business in jewellery design and manufacturing for the youth.
Addressing a public gathering on Monday during the launch of the awards in Windhoek, Pat Dambe, Vice President: Corporate Affairs, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales said the competition aims to assist the youth so that they can design ‘pieces’ that can be used for commercial purposes.
“There are certain themes that attract consumers, be it the youth or the elderly. Over time it is important that we [De Beers] move with time, we think some interesting designs will emerge from this year’s edition. The youth normally look for something that has an ethos of depth and with a global appeal because they want something they can wear everyday unlike in the past whereby jewels were worn only on certain occasions,” said Dambe.
Dambe noted the success of the awards over the years, which has seen “previous winners having had the opportunity to spend time in Milan at one of De Beers’ design centres and work with the finest trade artisans in the world”.
The awards were launched under the theme ‘Protecting Nature’s Beauty’. The company noted that the theme is a poignant reminder of the need to take care of the world’s finite natural resources, including diamonds.
The competition will give participants the opportunity not only to showcase their talent, but receive valuable business development skills in the areas of jewellery design, jewellery manufacturing, sales and marketing and consumer demand.
The platform is open to all aspiring jewellery design students with finalists in line to receive valuable business development skills in the areas of jewellery design, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
Designs will be picked from three participating countries that include Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.
Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze called on the mining sector to further its existing endeavours in talent development among the youth by exploring more methods of creating a lasting system.
Kandjoze called on stake holders to ensure the establishment of formal structures to enhance the continuous development of the industry.
“As Namibia embarks on the quest to industrialise the economy and bring about inclusive economic growth, it is essential that Namibians – particularly the youth – are adequately skilled in order to fully exploit entrepreneurial and business opportunities that this process will undoubtedly present…this also presents opportunities for cooperation between relevant educational institutions across the Southern African region and it is my sincere wish that these opportunities are explored to the fullest,” he said.
He further called on the diamond mining industry to expand local value-addition activities so as to alleviate employment levels in the country.
“The obligation of firms in the diamond industry is not only limited to the payment of taxes and royalties but rather it also extends to support for the local economy through the creation of wealth, economic expansion, as well as diversification that can serve as a foundation for economic empowerment, job creation and improving living standards of our citizens,” he said.
In his remarks Shihaleni Ndjaba, Chief Executive Officer of Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC), stated that, “NDTC is immensely proud to be associated with the Shining Light Awards. Our role within the diamond industry is to make diamonds available for sale in Namibia for local manufacturing. In so doing, we support the economic agenda of the Namibian Government by helping drive beneficiation, value creation, and job creation from the diamond resources”.
Brent Eiseb, Senior Manager, Sales and Marketing, Namibia Diamond Trading Company, said, “The awards are also perfectly positioned to support the [Harambee] Prosperity Plan’s pillars on improving vocational training, as well as youth development and skills development, as recently announced by the Namibian Government.”
Eiseb said some of the short-term objectives include collaboration with institutions of higher education to highlight components of designs and how it links with the fashion world.
“Something we want to talk about is how to leverage infrastructure and facilities we have to develop a platform to have it as a curriculum in order to groom young designers,” he said.
Eiseb also called for cooperation between the three countries to increase regional capacity in the jewellery design industry.
Paul Rowley, Executive Vice President, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales, said: “We are privileged to play an important part in turning the dreams of students from our producer countries into a lasting reality, especially in this instance where we are empowering them to add value to a natural resource.”
The Diamond World News Service reports that in past years, the competition has been widely regarded as a gateway for young designers to gain access to the global diamond jewellery market.
The Shining Light Awards require students to create a jewellery collection, with a Forevermark diamond at its heart. Stephen Lussier, Executive Vice President, Marketing, De Beers Group; and CEO, Forevermark, said: “Forevermark is proud to support the Shining Light Awards, nurturing talent and developing the creativity of the new generation growing up in the countries from where our most beautiful diamonds come from.”