2020/2021 Shining Light Awards winners announced
De Beers Group has announced the winners of the 2020/2021 De Beers Group Designers Initiative Shining Light Awards, creating opportunities for the next generation of jewellery designers from our diamond producing countries.
Originally launched in 1995, the Shining Light Awards (SLA) has grown to include submissions from new graduates of jewellery design programs in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa. For the 2020-2021 awards, twelve finalists, three from each country, were chosen from a record 123 total entries.
Each entry included designs for a full jewellery collection, including a ring, necklace, earrings, as well as bangles and bracelets. This year’s design theme, “The Evolution of Love and Life”, was aimed to inspire young designers to create innovative and game-changing pieces showcasing their interpretation of the concept.
The pieces were versatile and included a combination of 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.
Mpumi Zikalala, MD of De Beers Group Managed Operations, said: “The Shining Light Award recipients are very much like the rough diamonds we recover that get turned into beautiful gemstones. Through the program we are able to help the winners polish their talent and gain world-class skills to get a foothold in the jewellery design industry.
“We are proud of the fact that some of our previous winners have gone to establish their own businesses, while others are working in jewellery design houses. Critical to the success of the Awards have been the partnerships we continue to have with institution of higher learning, industry organisations and the Poli.Design and Polytecnic di Milano, in Italy.
The SLA is a tangible representation of De Beers’ youth beneficiation strategy, designed to create an environment for growth, skills transfer, entrepreneurship, global experiences and mentorship in the jewellery design sector. To be eligible, applicants must be between the age of 18-25.
An international panel of judges representing the four countries was led by Professor Alba Cappillieri, Faculty Head of Poli.Design.
Prof. Cappillieri said the entries received this year demonstrated a solid understanding of jewellery design: “What we are looking for is first and foremost logic, the ability to solve a problem in a reasonable, innovative way, and above all commitment, which then translates into a desire to do and learn. The technical tools can be learned over time, while the rest, that kind of attitude mentioned above, is more difficult.”
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the awards were live streamed from Toronto, Ontario, Canada on 28 October to simultaneous events held in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
The 2020-2021 winners are:
First Place (Awarded a 12 month post graduate scholarship at Poly.Design - Polytechnic di Milano, in Milan, Italy)
Second Place (12-month Artisan hands-on jewellery manufacturing training with Akapo Jewellers)
Third Place (Three-month De Beers internship in the respective country’s)
The 2022-2023 Shining Light Awards gala will be hosted in South Africa, where the De Beers Group Designers Initiative was born 26 years ago.