Diamond miner De Beers Group has welcomed five diamond polishing and jewellery manufacturing companies to its Enterprise Development Project for Diamond Beneficiators.
This project, launched by De Beers in 2016, aims to facilitate the growth and transformation of diamond beneficiation in South Africa.
De Beers seeks to optimise interventions in all aspects of the diamond pipeline from rough diamond purchasing, state-of-the-art manufacturing of diamonds and jewellery to marketing and distribution.
The five companies, which specialise in the cutting and polishing of diamonds, precious metals refining and jewellery making are B&H Mining, Irresistible Rough Diamonds, Isabella Jewellers, Outclass Crystalized Gems and Sunrise Gem Stone.
They were selected from a pool of companies that were identified by stakeholders from across the industry.
Of these companies, four have beneficiation licences, one has a jewellers permit and precious metals refining licence, two are wholly-owned by black women, while the balance are majority owned by women.
Speaking at the launch of the programme this year, on October 6, De Beers sightholder sales South Africa senior VP Peter Phemelo Moet said it was pleasing that the company had so many women participating in the project this year.
“Our aim is to assist with the growth and transformation of the diamond industry in South Africa. We are also extending our contribution to include jewellery manufacturers, thereby demonstrating our support for beneficiation throughout the value chain.
“For us, it is also about making sure that the companies we have appointed succeed in primarily having the competitive and very important entrepreneurial skills and those skills are provided by business incubating company Raizcorp.”
Raizcorp CEO Allon Raiz noted that De Beers is unique in its approach to enterprise development. “They are so involved, with a hands-on approach that allows us to give the best possible entrepreneurial development. If you look at the last cohort, those are big shoes to fill.
“If you look at the journey of entrepreneurs is that they go down and then they go up. The reason for that is we are remodelling your mind-set, your language, your thought pattern and we are remodelling you like you are remodelling the diamond. There is a huge amount of investment from De Beers Group and Raizcorp in shaping you to become role models.”
Irresistable Rough Diamonds owner Claudia Bompani says she hopes the programme will help her develop a sound business, with good strategies in place to enable diversification into different target markets.
Last year, five diamond cutting and polishing companies graduated from the project. Each participating company received an allocation of rough diamonds from De Beers Group, in line with their market requirements and capacity.
In addition, the project facilitated local and international market access and sponsored their participation at international trade shows, including the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair and JCK Las Vegas.