Protecting Nature’s Beauty, a winning theme for TUT’s best

Three students from the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Fine & Applied Arts, Jewellery Design & Manufacture Programme has just scooped the first three positions in the annual De Beers 2016/17 Shining Light Awards. For the first time ever a winner, first and second runner up were chosen from each participating country, instead of overall.

​​​The winners of the De Beers Young Jewellery Designers Skills Development Initiative were announced at a red carpet event in Windhoek, Namibia, on 30 November 2017. The proud TUT winners are Andile Mbeje, Omphile Sibanda, and Gabrielle Lourens.

Nina Newman, who congratulated the students on behalf of the lecturers of the Jewellery Programme said, “We are extremely proud of the winners, especially because this is the second time that TUT has claimed first, second and third places in this competition. A big thumbs up to our wonderful students!”

Andile has won a 12-month apprenticeship at the Forevermark Design and Innovation Centre in Milan, Italy. He will have the opportunity to work alongside jewellery designers at one of the world’s fastest growing diamond brands. Lilja Hastie, the previous year’s winner, is going to Milan for her apprenticeship in 2018.

The awards that recognise and celebrate emerging jewellery designers in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, provide entrants with a valuable platform to build their careers in the jewellery design industry.

Entrants were required to design commercially viable jewellery collections that demonstrated an artistic interpretation of this year’s theme, ‘Protecting Nature’s Beauty’. Forevermark, the diamond brand from De Beers Group, in recognition of the company’s commitment to biodiversity, conservation and sustainability, chose the theme.

Finalists from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa were selected from more than 130 entries for their outstanding jewellery designs and unique interpretation of the theme. Following the final judging, the winners from each country are (in no particular order):

First place

  • Mbako Baraedi (Botswana)
  • Richardlee Shoombe (Namibia)
  • Andile Mbeje (South Africa)

First runners-up

  • Tshepo Dithebele (Botswana)
  • Frans Uunona (Namibia)
  • Omphile Sibanda (South Africa)

Second runners-up

  • Gaone Caroline Otsile (Botswana)
  • Taleni Udeiko (Namibia)
  • Gabrielle Lourens (South Africa)

The first runners-up will receive a three-month internship at the same Forevermark Design and Innovation Centre, while the second runners-up will be enrolled in a jewellery design skills development programme at a local university.

Pat Dambe, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Government Relations, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales, said: “We are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s Shining Light Awards, which provide a fantastic platform for emerging jewellery designers in Southern Africa to showcase their skills, and which play an important role in nurturing design talent in diamond producing countries. Each winner will now have the opportunity to further advance their skills through industry exposure and training, and we can’t wait to see where the future takes them.”

Stephen Lussier, Executive Vice-President, Marketing, De Beers Group and CEO, Forevermark, said: “Through the Shining Light Awards, Forevermark is pleased to support the careers and learning experiences of emerging jewellery designers from southern Africa, and provide them with the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the global jewellery design industry by working alongside designers at one of the world’s fastest growing diamond brands.”

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