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Media Statement by the Durban University of Technology

Media Statement by the Durban University of Technology


Becoming ‘shining diamonds’ and gaining recognition for their understanding and concepts of cut, design, colour and shaping of diamonds were the reasons behind four DUT Jewellery Design and Manufacture students being chosen as finalists for the annual2015 De Beers Shining Light Awards recently.

The grand finale and announcement of the top three winners will take place at the CIRCA Gallery in Johannesburg on 8 July 2015.

The De Beers Group of Companies Jewellery Design competition, theShining Light Awards, has been running for 18 years and has seen the design and manufacturing of a number of ‘one of a kind’ jewellery pieces from talented designers from Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.

The competition was initially conceived as a design competition with a vision of showcasing the wealth of talent from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia to the world by creating a design platform and providing opportunities for designers to bring their designs to life by working with jewellery manufactures to develop these unique pieces.

Speaking about being chosen as one of the finalists in the competition, I-chen Lu, a third-year National Diploma (ND) in Jewellery Design and Manufacture student, said she was honoured to have been chosen.

“It has given me a lot of confidence and encouragement as a jewellery design student. This was my first time enter the Shining Light Awards. To enter the competition, I had to design a set of diamond jewellery consisting of a ring, earring, bangle and pendant under the theme of a Promise. In my designs, I referenced the traditional Chinese square knot as a link to the ForeverMark Promise, the word for knot in Chinese is 平結 (píng jié) which has auspicious meanings (equality, stability, steady, prosperity and peace) and carries beautiful meaning that relates to the given theme. My designs were developed using CAD (computer aided design) and then rendered by hand. I had to cost the work and ensure that it was commercially feasible,” she said.

Thomy Vencatasawmy, currently in third-year, said he was gratified when he heard that he was a finalist. “I am excited,” he said proudly. Vencatasawmy was drawn to the idea of bonds between people, so he then connected the imagery of bonds with the physical act of tying a knot. A knot fastens components together, as a ring becomes a symbol that fastens two people together in engagement or marriage, and this is what influenced his designs. “I named my collection Coalescence because it means to unite or to bond, like a couple promises to unify for life through the act of marriage. This is much like the natural process in which diamonds are created by bonding natural minerals together to create something everlasting,” he said.

Ruan Coetzee, currently in third year, was excited to be a finalist as he would now get to see his design manufactured. “Having a number of students from our department make the finals affirms that we need not all have the same design sensibilities to place well in competitions. The prize, which is a year’s designing in Milan and an internship with De Beers, would also be a dream come true for any of the finalists,” he said, also adding that his collection consisted of a bangle, pendant, earrings and a ring. He also used a decorative variation of a bend known as “the true lover’s knot” to arrive at his design element.

Nihal Shah, currently doing his BTech, said it was an incredible feeling knowing that his were selected as one of the finalists from the hundreds of entries submitted. “This is a very pristine competition in the jewellery industry which has earned the reputation of attracting the best of the best,” he beamed. Under the theme, Shah designed his collection using the embellishments that adorn wedding vehicles as his inspiration. “My thought process stemmed from the simplistic use of a ribbon that is tied on either sides of the car and comes together as one. I found this simple decoration symbolic as it depicts the coming together of two individuals, two souls, two lives and two families. Hence the name of my collection was dubbed ‘La fusion des âmes’, which in French loosely translates to the ‘Coming together of Souls’,” he said.

DUT Jewellery Design Lecturer, Samantha Vincent, said the Department was delighted to have students in the Shining Light Awards finals. “We are very proud of all our students’ efforts as they worked hard and encountered many new challenges when completing the design brief for the competition. To have students in the final means that their hard work and dedication has paid off,” she said excitedly. She also added that it was very important for students to enter jewellery industry related competitions. “The brief given by the competition is very similar to briefs that they will receive from customers on completion of their studies. In this way, it contributes to and re-enforces work integrated learning as a component in our programme. It is also a wonderful addition to a student’s portfolio that will aid their career as a designer,” she said.

At the grand competition grand finale, the pieces will be showcased in 3D technology and the winners will receive a development package which will equip them to further their career, both locally and abroad. This year’s winner will also be given the opportunity to receive training for a year in Milan, Italy, and expose and enhance their skills in jewellery design.

Kevin Goodrem, Vice-President of Beneficiation at De Beers, said the competition will give participants the opportunity showcase their talent and receive valuable business development skills in the areas of jewellery design, manufacturing, sales, marketing as well as consumer demands.

“The De Beers Group of Companies recognises the significant role that producer countries play in providing the designers with various opportunities in the jewellery design industry. The success of the competition can be linked to the collaboration between Industry stakeholders, government, as well as tertiary education institutions which fits in with the beneficiation ethos of De Beers,” he said.

Pictures of the jewellery designs are available on request.

Issued by:

Noxolo Memela

Media Officer

Botanic Mansions

Division: Corporate Affairs

Steve Biko Campus

Gate 1

Tel: 031 373 2899

Fax: 031 202 2475