The Shining Light Awards (SLA) were first launched in 1996 in South Africa to provide support for the future of the South African jewellery industry by helping to develop technical and design skills of South African designers, as well as an ethos for South African jewellery design.
The competition was extended to Namibia and Botswana in 2007, but was only launched in Namibia in 2008 to establish a platform for creating opportunities for further value addition activities in the Namibian diamond industry. Through the Shining Light Awards competition, the NDTC has pioneered the way for Sightholders, the sponsors of the collection pieces, local manufacturers and designers to collaborate in producing innovative and progressive jewellery design work.
The Shining Light Awards (SLA) competition is held every two years through a collaboration between De Beers Group and Forevermark and focuses on creating an enabling environment for growth, skills transfer, entrepreneurship, global experiences and mentorship in the jewellery design sector for young aspiring jewellery designers.
On the 30th of March 2021, NDTC hosted a successful Shining Light Award 2020/2021 Stakeholder Engagement in Windhoek to further entice, encourage and brief young designers on the opportunity.
The Namibian lecturer, Mr. Kim Modise from the Namibian College of Arts who attended the stakeholder engagement describes his support with conceptualizing and technical execution mentorship of the design process as rewarding, because he gets the opportunity to both identify and nurture young emerging talent in Namibia. He feels excited about the potential of design students, who were some of the youths afforded the opportunity by the NDTC – to view a presentation, refer their questions regarding the competitions rules and guidelines to the organisers as well as mingle and network with other students, young designers and industry specialists on the day.
The jewellery design competition is open to students from De Beers Group’s diamond producing partner countries (Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa) who are between the ages of 18 -35 and who could be currently enrolled in a jewellery design and manufacturing programme, are graduates from one of the related programmes or simply talented freelance designers. From previous competitions, the judges have reiterated that there is no right or wrong interpretation of the theme and that jewellery design, as an art, provides leeway for its diverse application.
The Shining Light Awards (SLA), which have existed in Namibia for 11 years, have evolved over the past few years and have moved away from a jewellery design competition to a youth skills enablement initiative focused on celebrating and capacitating jewellery design talent found in De Beers’ diamond producer countries in a sustainable way by creating opportunities for designers in the diamond producer partner countries through high-level exposure to the retail segment within the diamond value chain.
The Shining Light Awards give the winning entry access to tuition in Milan’s Politecnico which has been recognized as the No.1 University in Italy, the 3rd training in Europe and the 5th best in the world for Art and Design, having moved up one place since last year. The level of academic quality which the winner receives, is on par with that which is held as benchmark by The De Beers Group Designers Initiative (DBGDI), which incorporates the Shining Light Awards (SLA).
The 2020/2021 SLA competition was launched on the 1st December 2020 and is open for entries online as of the 31 January 2021 and closed on 30 April 2021. Winners will be announced in November 2021.
Three (3) awardees/winners will be selected from each country.