Johannesburg: The winners of the 18th Shining Light Awards were announced last night in a spectacular grand finale held in the Circa Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The prestigious jewellery design competition, sponsored by The De Beers Group of Companies, showcases young talent from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. The competition is open to current students, as well as those who have completed their studies at a tertiary institution in the past two years.
Philippe Mellier, Chief Executive, De Beers Group, told the finalists: “You truly are the shining lights of southern Africa and I look forward to watching you light up the diamond industry in years to come.
“As the modern diamond jewellery designer needs a head for business, just as much as they need an artistic eye and a skilled hand, this year’s awards have sought to identify those that have the commercial acumen to match their creative flair.”
The overall winner was Lilja Pesanka Hastie, from the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, who picked up the highest accolade of ‘The Forevermark Promise Award’. Lilja now has the offer of a year’s training scholarship with De Beers Group’s Forevermark design team in Milan, Italy.
Louise Kriek and Madeli Viljoen, both also from the Tshwane University of Technology, received ‘The Cursor Sursum Award’ as runners-up. They will be offered three-month training scholarships in Milan.
Julius Brettschneider, from Adrian & Meyer Jewellers (Windhoek, Namibia), Mpho Mokgatle, from the Oodi College of Applied Arts & Technology (Gaborone, Botswana), and Omphile Sibanda, from the Tshwane University of Technology, were all given ‘The Shining Light Development Award’.
All 12 finalists walked away with ‘The De Beers 2015 Shining Light Recognition Award’, and each producer country finalist also received a two-year scholarship with the Keith White School of Jewellery Design and Manufacturing in South Africa, set to catapult them straight into a high profile career in the jewellery industry.
Winner Lilja said: “My collection is inspired by the romance of marriage and the promise that binds the union of true love, that their hearts will forever be intertwined.
“The twisted shank symbolizes two lives intertwined and tied by a diamond infinity band. The band serves as a bezel for the hero diamond, and the ultimate meaning for the diamond is eternity and love bonding the commitment of two people. All this is symbolised in the ring design and it is carried through the entire collection – that includes a pendant, earrings and a bangle.”
This year, entrants designed a commercial collection including a ring, a bracelet, a pendant and earrings under the chosen theme, ‘The Promise’. This theme resonates deeply with De Beers and is aligned to the Forevermark promise – that all its diamonds are beautiful, rare and responsibly sourced. Designs had to be submitted in 2D or 3D technical drawing.
Kevin Goodrem, Vice President of Beneficiation, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales, said: “This opportunity will undoubtedly enhance Lilja’s skills and talent in jewellery design. We couldn’t be prouder of what she has achieved; I think everyone will agree that Lilja is an incredibly deserving winner among one of the strongest top 12 teams we have ever encountered.
“We are thrilled with all the nominees of this year’s Shining Light Awards. They are a group of individuals who have truly taken the challenge at hand and made it their own, while at the same time making the ethos of ‘The Promise’ the golden thread that can clearly be seen running through all their masterfully designed pieces of jewellery.
“From De Beers’ and our partners’ side, it has been the greatest reward knowing that we have invested in diverse greatness, upskilling and significantly developing the careers of 12 unique individuals, which will in turn be sown back into their respective countries.”
A wide variety of De Beers Group stakeholders, including key partners and shareholders, and leading figures from the mining industry, joined the finalists, with their friends and family, at the ceremony.