De Beers announced the nine regional finalists in this year’s Shining Light Awards, which recognise emerging jewellery designers in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa and provide them with a 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’ 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 winners will receive:

  • A one-year apprenticeship with Forevermark at its Design and Innovation Centre in Milan, Italy, for the overall winners.
  • A three-month internship with Forevermark at its Design and Innovation Centre for the second prize winners.
  • Participation in a jewellery design skills development programme at a regional institution for the third prize winners.

Targeting a niche segment of design students, De Beers and Forevermark conducted regional roadshows 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.

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 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.

The 2016/2017 Shining Lights Awards finalists are:

Botswana: Gaone Otsile, Tshepo Dithebele and Mbako Baraedi

Namibia: Richardlee Shoombee, Frans Uunona and Taleni Udeiko

South Africa: Omphile Sibanda, Gabrielle Lourens and Andile Mbeje.

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