Calling all designers working with diamonds
The process to find the best jewellery designers in southern Africa kicked off this week with a glamorous ball at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre where the 2016/17 edition of the Shining Light De Beers Young Diamond Jewellery Design awards was launched by the Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon Obed Kandjoze.
“It is now my distinct honour and privilege to officially launch the commencement of the 2016 Shining Light De Beers Young Diamond Jewellery Design Awards that will culminate in the selecting of the winning designs in 2017” the minister exclaimed after addressing the elect gathering.
In the audience sat a host of ministers, deputy ministers, high ranking dignitaries, De Beers officials, industry representatives and academics, indicating just how highly the diamond industry is regarded in local circles.
Said Kandjoze, “I was privileged to have attended the Shining Light Awards last year in South Africa. During that occasion, I expressed Namibia’s readiness to host the 2016/17 awards.”
The Shining Light Awards were first launched in 1996 to develop the technical and design skills of South African designers and to create an ethos for jewellery design. The resounding success convinced De Beers to broaden the scope of the awards, extending it to Botswana and Namibia. The current structure of the competition provides both regional and country level participation. The decision to move the 2016/2017 edition to Namibia reflects the desire to engage as many potential designers as possible and to broaden the ownership of the event.
“The Shining Light Awards offer a unique opportunity for Sightholders, the sponsors of the collection pieces, local manufacturers and designers to collaborate in producing innovative and progressive design work.” stated Kandjoze adding that the awards are great at galvanizing designers but more needs to be done to ensure that young people remain engaged in jewellery design and manufacturing.
“The Shining Light Awards will not be possible without a vibrant diamond industry. The mining industry, particularly the diamond sector, has always been and remains an important pillar of the Namibian economy. Revenue receipts and royalties from the sale of diamonds constitute a significant portion of state revenue. Thus, we can correctly say that the sector is crucial to the attainment of national development goals, including the improvement of the living standards of our people” he said.
“I also believe that the obligation of firms in the diamond industry is not only limited to the payment of taxes and royalties but rather it also extents to the support for the local economy through the creation of wealth, economic expansion, as well as diversification that can serve as a foundation for economic empowerment, job creation and improving living standards of our citizens” he added.
The minister continued “This is the biggest challenge to the government and indeed the diamond mining industry. We have already seen that our country has the necessary human resources, Namibians who can be trained as diamond polishers and cutters. I, therefore, call upon Namdeb and other investors to further complement the government’s efforts by broadening local manufacturing activities in this sector.”
“The government will continue to foster public private partnership as a way of maximising synergies that can enable us to find and implement practical and sustainable solutions. It is pleasing to note that companies such as De Beers are finding innovative ways, not only in enhancing diamond recovery, but also finding creative ways to encourage Namibians to participate through the beneficiation process by involving them in the jewellery design and manufacturing processes. It is for this reason that the government welcomes and supports the 2016/17 Shining Light De Beers Young Diamond Jewellery Design awards” he assured.