Sandton, South Africa--The Diamond Trading Co. (DTC) launched an award-winning collection of diamond jewelry in South Africa last week, putting a new twist into an old competition.
This 18-karat gold and diamond ring took first place in the DTC's 2009 Shining Light Awards jewelry design competition. Created by Bhekithemba Ngema, it is crafted of 725 diamonds totaling 16 carats.
According to a news release, the "DTC Shining Light Awards Southern Africa 2009 Collection" was introduced at the Radisson Hotel in Sandton, South Africa, on Feb. 26.
The collection is composed of 18 pieces of diamond jewelry set with more than 14,000 brilliant white and natural-colored diamonds weighing in at more than 400 carats.
The winning piece came from South African designer Bhekithemba Ngema, a 2008 Tshwane University of Technology graduate. Ngema created a 16-carat diamond ring using 18-karat yellow gold and 725 diamonds provided by DTC sightholder Schachter and Namdar Pty. Ltd.
The DTC first launched its Shining Light Awards in 1996. The program is intended to provide support for the future of the South African jewelry industry through design workshops hosted by the DTC and educational grants to five jewelry design schools.
The launch of the eighth awards program, however, marked the first time the competition was opened to South Africa's neighboring diamond-producing countries, Namibia and Botswana.
According to the release, the competition included eight pieces from South African designers, five from Namibia and five from Botswana.
Through the Shining Light Awards competition, the DTC has paved the way for DTC sightholders, the sponsors of the collection pieces, local manufacturers and designers to collaborate in producing innovative work.
"A direct result of this collaboration has been the securing of employment at a time when the challenges in the global economy remind us of the interdependence of nations and economies and of the necessity for us to meet our goals through co-operative endeavor," De Beers Group Marketing Head of Marketing for Southern Africa Thoko Modisakeng said in the release.