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SHINING LIGHT AWARDS (article first published : 2001-06-3)

Launched in 1996, the De Beers Shining Light Awards for Excellence in Diamond Jewellery Design aim to support the South African diamond jewellery industry by promoting young talent and by offering established designers and goldsmiths a showcase for their artistry.

Importantly the competition also seeks to create opportunities for skills development and job creation for all South Africans, particularly historically disadvantaged citizens. From the townships to the cities, from student to professional designers, all those interested were invited to submit renderings for the fourth De Beers Shining Light Awards Competition.

In the spirit of the tagline “A diamond is forever”, new pieces must be able to stand the test of time and point unswervingly to the future. Designers must push beyond traditional barriers and look towards creating something truly innovative, taking their inspiration from the rich symbolism of Africa: the African city, beadwork, textiles, body painting, hairstyles and wood carvings. Above all however, De Beers was looking for real innovation and welcomed the incorporation of new and interesting materials into the designs.

From an overwhelming response of 850 renderings, 30 Merit Award Winners were selected to attend a fully sponsored design forum. In support of skills development, a further 30 entrants, many from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, were invited to attend the same forum. The workshop facilitated further opportunities to winning designers, under the guidance of nationally recognised design directors. During the workshop, designers were given the opportunity of working both individually and in groups.

At the second judging (following the design workshop), the top 12 designers were selected to make up their winning designs. At the final judging, the overall winner was chosen from the completed pieces. The overall winner will be announced on 25th April 2001 at the launch of the collection.

Winning designers who could not afford to make up their selected pieces have been sponsored by individual jewellers who have given generously of their finance and time, working closely with the designer in the creation of their pieces.

In order to further develop design skills, De Beers provided ten of the most promising students bursaries to the value of R5000 each to pay for their next year of study.

Let Africa be our inspiration and its Shining Light, the Diamond.




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