The 2020/2021 instalment of the Shining Light Awards (SLA) jewellery design competition invites promising young diamond jewellery designers from Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa to showcase their talent.
A ring from Lilja Hastie’s 2015 winning collection titled ‘Forever Intertwined’.
The awards platform forms part of the De Beers Group Designers Initiative (DBGDI), a youth beneficiation skills development initiative aimed at giving young jewellers world-class diamond jewellery design and manufacturing skills. DBGDI, through the Shining Light Awards, has established a growing footprint in each of the De Beers Group’s diamond producer countries: Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa.
The SLA, which have existed for 23 years in South Africa, 11 years in Botswana and Namibia and two years in Canada, have created a range of partnerships with tertiary institutions and industry to provide a platform for as many young jewellers as possible to compete to win an opportunity to enhance their jewellery design skills.
Three winners will be selected from each producer country and stand a chance to win a 12-month post-graduate programme at Politecnico di Milano in Milan, the design and fashion capital of the world, a 12-month artisanal goldsmith training programme in South Africa, and a three-month exposure in a De Beers Group business unit.
This year’s design theme ‘The Evolution of Love and Life’, aims to inspire young designers to create innovative pieces showcasing their interpretation of the theme. The pieces should be versatile and combine commerciality with red carpet elegance, celebrate fresh thinking, showcase the beauty, strength and sustainability of natural diamonds and appeal to a millennial consumer anywhere in the world.
“The 2020/2021 SLA theme was birthed from the current global context and sends a powerful message of hope and resilience at a time when the world continues to evolve and innovate at lightning speed, humankind continues to search for meaning and gain strength through our traditions, our culture and our passions that have made us resolute for centuries, now more than ever celebrating love & life,” says Pat Dambe, vice-president of corporate affairs and government relations, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales.
“Creating an enabling environment for beneficiation to succeed is critical, especially for a sector that competes on an international stage. By creating an international platform for showcasing local talent, we are giving young designers access to the global diamond jewellery market,” adds Dambe.
Growing market share
Diamond jewellery design is emerging as a vehicle to drive youth employment, entrepreneurship and innovation among young people in Africa and North America as the continents position themselves to take a greater slice of the global diamond jewellery market.
In 2019, the total global jewellery market was valued at approximately $229.3bn, and was forecast to reach $291.7bn by 2025, according to global research expert Mahsa Shahbadeh.
“Africa and Canada’s share of this market is steadily growing, thanks to the creativity of entrepreneurs, modern production technologies and online sales platforms,” says Peter Phemelo Moeti, senior vice president of De Beers Sightholder Sales SA.
“The broader industry is putting in a huge amount of effort to revive the South African diamond beneficiation sector, which includes rough diamond cutting and polishing, and jewellery design and manufacturing. As a result, the industry is creating the opportunity for a new generation of young diamond jewellery designers to make their mark,” said Moeti.
SLA success stories
Previous winners of the SLA have secured employment with international jewellery manufacturing houses, established their own businesses in South Africa and internationally, and are lecturing at tertiary institutions.
Some have also gone on to compete globally. Hunadi Tlomatsana, 2012 winner and owner of Caliente Designs, a jewellery design and manufacturing company, was awarded a merit award by the International Jewellery Design Excellence at the Hong Kong Show, ahead of 187 entries from 28 countries.
Entries for the 2020/2021 competition open on 30 January 2021, and close on 31 March. For more information, visit www.shininglightsawards.com.