Maiden diamond valuation course
Namibia moved a step closer to self-sustenance in diamond processing when a local company, the NamGem diamond cutting and polishing factory in Okahandja presented the Gemological Institute of America’s first-ever rough diamond valuation course earlier this month.
NamGem Chairman and Namibian Diamond Commissioner, Kennedy Hamutenya said, “Beneficiation accelerates toward critical mass through many individual steps. This is one of them, and we hope the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will become a permanent presence in support of our growing local manufacturing sector.”
Present at the occasion was the Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon Isak Katali, and the Mayor of Okahandja, Her Worship Vallerie Aron as well as NamGem’s technical partner, Lazare Kaplan International to oversee the course. The Gemological Institute presented the course at the NamGem factory premises in Okahandja. The course was attended by Namibian stakeholders who have an interest in the accurate assessment of uncut diamonds.
“The Gemological Institute of America is the world’s leading diamond grading agency, handling the crucial task of grading the colour, cut, clarity and carat weight of diamonds after manufacturing, thus providing consumers and others in downstream markets the necessary benchmarks and confidence to purchase and trade those stones” Hamutenya said. “The Gemological Institute of America maintains laboratories in all major diamond trading centres around the world, and also conducts education programmes on diamonds,” he added. Established in 1997 as a prototype facility for national ambitions in beneficiation, and as an outcome of the first government renegotiation of diamond governance arrangements with DeBeers following Independence, NamGem has often been an indicator for subsequent broader trends in Namibia’s diamond polishing and cutting industry which now employs roughly 1000 workers across a dozen factories. NamGem said it was the first to Namibianise at senior operational level and the first to specialise exclusively in Namibian-mined diamonds, and currently produces gem diamonds to a level of quality equalled by few factories in the world.