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DUT Jewellery Design students make their mark at the 11th PlatAfrica Jewellery Competition

DUT Jewellery Design students make their mark at the 11th PlatAfrica Jewellery Competition

Media statement by Nomonde Mbadi, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs

DUT Jewellery Design students make their mark at the 11th PlatAfrica Jewellery Competition

Durban University of Technology’s (DUT) Jewellery Design students have been awarded for their innovative and inspiring designs at the 11th PlatAfrica Jewellery Competition. The event was held at an evening awards ceremony at Gallagher Estate in Midrand at the weekend. Distinguished guests from design houses and established jewellery manufacturers attended the celebrated occasion which was sponsored by Anglo Platinum, Johnson Matthey and Metal Concentrators.

DUT student designs under the theme Zulu Symmetry won first place in the student collection category, with each student being awarded with a R2500 and a certificate in recognition of their outstanding designs and unique creativity. DUT student designs for the theme Indian Intricacy won merit awards for the versatile and delicate designs.

This year’s competition provided the impetus for South African designers to get creative with platinum. Platinum remains the metal of choice for bridal and gifts of commitment across the globe. Timeless and contemporary, platinum is astonishingly versatile. The competition theme revolved around cultural connections in relation to Southern African courtship and broader wedding traditions. PlatAfrica challenged designers to come up with an innovative way of reinventing the past in a diverse presentation that represents South Africa’s dynamic and diverse society fused with a contemporary perception of eclectic wedding gifting traditions.

Professional and students designers were tasked to use their ingenuity to create symbolic platinum jewellery based on the design brief. Plat Africa received 126 entries with fresh, creative designs inspired by over 26 diverse Southern African cultures. Designer Vernon White received second place in the professional category but it was his team’s “Zulu Symmetry” that won first place in the student collection category.
“This year’s competition immediately caught my attention because it allowed professionals to work with young student designers in a collaborative way. Our collection was inspired by the beaded necklaces worn by the Zulu people. Personally, I was thrilled to be able to explore my own interest in art deco jewellery design which complemented the strong geometric shapes favoured by Zulu culture perfectly. My hero piece takes the traditional Zulu love letter to a new level as it incorporates a locket into the design. The team worked so well together in creating this contemporary bridal collection and it was often simply a matter of guiding their talents to create saleable pieces,” said White.

Michael Joseph of Anglo Platinum said: “So often we talk about the need to differentiate through design by providing jewellers the opportunity to work with this precious metal and inspiring and harnessing the creativity of our local talent. PlatAfrica has produced a collection of really unique jewellery. Jewellery that may very well evolve cultural gift giving whilst still upholding traditional values”.
Winner of this year’s professional category, Durban based designer and mentor Vijay Shah said: “Working with the students from DUT provided me with fresh insights and inspiration, their enthusiasm was infectious. Although my heritage is Indian, my work as a professional designer is generally very ethnic and South African, so creating this collaborative collection was a wonderful challenge! The students were inspired by the filigree designs found in traditional Indian jewellery and each design was their own unique creation. It was wonderful to help them tweak their ideas to maximise each piece’s commercial potential. ”

For more information, please contact:

PlatAfrica 2009 winners:

From the professional category
Vijay Shah – Vijay Shah Jewellers – 031 564 2948
Theme: Indian Intricacy – neckpiece
First place – professional category

Vernon White – Vernon White Jewellers – 082 659 1505
Theme: Zulu Symmetry – neckpiece
Second place – professional category
First place in the student collection category
Theme: Zulu Symmetry

DUT Jewellery Design Programme leader: Chris de Beer 031 373 6673
Mluleki Mchunu: 0737089765
Dianne Turner: 082851 6837
Tracey-Leigh Bertinotti: 082 354 6326 / 079809 1263
Lungelo Myeza: 083245 9934
Daniela Farinha-Ferreira: 082 534 6999

For further information you can contact:

Anglo Platinum:
Michael Joseph – 011 373 6788 email:
Thabisile Phumo – 011 373 6846 email:
PlatAfrica Jewellery Competition:
Harriet Lamb – 011 837 1923 email: