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Young gemologists in the making

Five Rand Primary School learners and teachers with her Worship, the Mayor of Okahandja, Valerie Aron (Centre) and the Managing Director of NamGem, Yoav Lavi (left).

Pupils of the Five Rand Primary School which is situated in one of Okahandja’s informal settlements, earlier this week had the opportunity to be trainees of a gemology training session.

The training was made possible by NamGem, a local diamond polishing and beneficiation company, also located in the crossroads town.
NamGem is the oldest and most proficient diamond manufacturing facility in Namibia, producing polished diamonds of a quality matched only by a handful of other factories on a global scale. NamGem is the diamonds beneficiary sector’s largest employer and a major economic booster.
NamGem Diamond Manufacturing Company and the Gemological Institute of America’s Education and Laboratory division (GIA) hosted the Junior Gemologist Training Program at the NamGem factory.
NamGem Managing Director, Yoav Lavi said the focus of this programme is to showcase to learners the broad world of minerals, in which Namibia is rich, with a specific emphasis on gems. NamGem and Gemological Institute believe that training in gemology serves as a gateway for the youth to explore and deepen their understanding of the world around them, while developing an interest and excitement about earth and science through geology and mineralogy.
“We are very happy to see that companies such as NamGem that operate in our constituency are also prioritizing the education and transfer of knowledge to the youth. I am very honoured to be part of this event as we are investing in the youth especially those from underprivileged backgrounds. This opens many doors and windows of opportunity for them” said the Mayor of Okahandja, her Worship Valerie Aron.
The students aged between 12 and 15 practised with basic gemological tools, using loupes, microscopes and penlights to examine gems and explore their characteristics at the interactive workshops, with all the tools and training being provided by the institute. Instruction was provided by Elizabeth Bokaba, the Manager of Alumni and Client Relations for GIA South Africa.
Lavi said; “not only do we want to be an industry leader and flagship diamond manufacturer, we also want to promote diamond education as a way for bringing the Namibian people closer to their heritage and resources.”
The GIA Junior Gemologist programme is based on the same curriculum which the GIA uses in its Graduate Gemologist diploma programme, which is a world-leading training programme for gem and jewellery professionals. The programme was launched in 2002 as part of the GIA’s public benefit mission to disseminate knowledge and information about gemstones to the public.

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