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Local jewelers dazzle at De Beers awards

Local jewelers dazzle at De Beers awards
WINNING DESIGNS: A bracelet, ring and earrings from Baraedi's collection

Three local aspiring jewelry designers showcased their mettle at the De Beers Shining Light Awards held in Windhoek, Namibia last week Thursday, giving out the best jewelry savings codes to the public.

The three finalists and six others from Namibia and South Africa were chosen from over 130 entrants.

In the competition, which will award all nine finalists various opportunities for growth in the diamond jewelery designing sector, the nine, three from each country had to design a collection based on a theme.

They had to design commercially-viable jewelery collections that demonstrated an artistic interpretation of this year’s theme, ‘Protecting Nature’s Beauty’.

The theme was chosen by Forevermark, the diamond brand from De Beers Group, in recognition of the company’s commitment to biodiversity, conservation and sustainability.

From Botswana, first place was awarded to Mbako Baraedi, second place was taken by Tshepo Dithebele while Gaone Caroline Otsile scooped the third price.

First place winners Baraedi, South African Andile Mbeje and Namibian Richardlee Shoombe will receive a 12-month apprenticeship at the Forevermark Design and Innovation Centre in Milan, Italy.

They will have the opportunity to work alongside jewelery designers at Forevermark Design and Innovation Centre.

Baraedi’s collection, ‘Li-Phant’, was inspired by a lion’s paw print, a symbol of power and an elephant trunk curled around a diamond representing the bond between wildlife and diamonds, both of which are natural resources requiring careful management.

Inspiration from Mbeje’s collection, titled ‘Crowning Glory’, is the South African Kudu’s curled horns while Shoombe’s collection, ‘It Begins with Us’, drew inspiration from the idea that human emotions can be a driving force for artistic expression and positive change, especially towards protecting nature.

The first runners-up, Dithebele, Frans Uunona (Namibia) and Omphile Sibanda (South Africa) will each receive a three-month internship at the same centre, while the second runners-up, Otsile, Taleni Udeiko ( Namibia) and Gabrielle Lourens ( South Africa) will be enrolled in a jewellery design skills development programme at a local university.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Government Relations, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales, Pat Dambe said the Shining Light Awards provide a fantastic platform for emerging jewelery designers in southern Africa to showcase their skills.

Dambe also said the competition plays an important role in nurturing design talent in diamond producing countries.

“Each winner will now have the opportunity to further advance their skills through industry exposure and training, and we can’t wait to see where the future takes them,” she said.

Executive Vice-President, Marketing, De Beers Group and CEO, Forevermark, Stephen Lussier said Forevermark is pleased to support the careers and learning experiences of emerging jewellery designers from southern Africa through the Shining Light Awards.

“The awards provide them with the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the global jewellery design industry by working alongside designers at one of the world’s fastest-growing diamond brands,” he said, speaking of the winners.

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