Diamonds need designers just as much as designers need diamonds when it comes to upmarket jewellery. Realising the importance of this reciprocal relationship, De Beers Group introduced the Shining Light Awards some 23 years ago.
This year’s awards took place recently in Windhoek, combining a limited in-person event with a streamed meeting to reach all participating designers in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Canada.
Lately, the awards have changed from a pure competition to an embracing platform where young designers have the opportunity, not only to compete against their peers, but to receive a thorough induction into the industry that produces classy jewellery.
Held in collaboration between De Beers Group and the globally recognised Forevermark diamond trade mark, the shift in the awards’ broader scope now helps emerging designers launch and grow their careers in designing bespoke jewellery that is on par with the best in the world.
Over the years, more than 30 young designers have won various awards and opportunities to participate in the diamond value chain in various countries. Previous award winners have gone on to establish jewellery brands, open jewellery stores, design and manufacture one-of-a-kind pieces, gain employment at world class jewellery stores and developed into renowned diamantaires.
The success of the awards rely on a sound working relationship with training institutions, government stakeholders, the media and youth across all the De Beers producer countries. The awards now function as a tangible platform supporting the group’s drive to empower young people through skills transfer, entrepreneurship, global experiences and mentorship.
The awards also play an important part in turning the dreams of design students into a lasting reality, playing their part in adding value to a natural resource. For instance, award winners spend some time at a De Beers design centre in Italy where they work alongside some of the finest artisans in the trade.
For Namibia, the awards are also perfectly positioned to support the Harambee Prosperity Plan’s pillars on supporting youth development through vocational training and skills development. In essence, the awards nurture emerging talents through the many positive opportunities in the diamond value chain.