Three Batswana, Gaone Otsile, Tshepo Dithebele and Mbako Baraedi have been named amongst the nine finalists from three southern African countries in this year’s De Beers’ Shining Light Awards.
The awards 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 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, Namibia, on November 30. 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 first prize winners will receive a one-year apprenticeship with Forevermark at its Design and Innovation Centre in Milan, Italy.
A three-month internship with Forevermark at its Design and Innovation Centre will be awarded to the second prizewinner.
The third prize winner will get a chance to participate in a jewellery design skills development programme at a regional institution.
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, University of Namibia; College of Arts; International University of Business Management in Namibia and Tshwane University of Technology; Durban University of Technology; University of Johannesburg, College of Cape Town in South Africa.
Pat Dambe, vice-president, corporate affairs and government relations, De Beers Global Sightholder 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, 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 eighth year in Botswana and Namibia, are part of the De Beers Young Jewellery Designers Skills Development Initiative, designed to support beneficiation efforts in De Beers Group’s producer countries across southern Africa. The awards support the development of participants’ business skills in the areas of jewellery design, manufacturing and sales and marketing.