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The winners of the 17th Annual PlatAfrica Jewellery Design Competition were announced last night in Sandton, Johannesburg with each winner getting the opportunity to design for the in Indian jewellery market, where platinum has become the symbol of love.

India is one of the fastest growing platinum jewellery markets in the world, increasing tenfold in less than a decade – from 16 000 ounces in 2008 to over 200 000 ounces in 2016 – with significant potential for further growth.

The PlatAfrica Awards has become synonymous with excellence in platinum jewellery design and is an important aspect of Anglo American Platinum’s beneficiation activities.

Platinum jewellery remains one of the most sought-after metals and South Africa supplies approximately 80% of global demand for this rare resource. The competition is open to students, apprentices and professional jewellers working in South Africa and the industry’s top achievers were recognised for their work.

This year’s finalists in the competition were challenged with ‘Nuevo Traditions’. The design theme creates an opportunity for a modern interpretation of ancient philosophies, rituals and stories using new technology, creating modern heirlooms which are balanced depictions of both modern and ethnic elements. There are five governing theme design hooks (slice, organic, liquid reflections, micro-texture and symbolic) which enable the designers to explore the platinum metal surface to create unique, symbolic statement pieces for both men and women.Joint winners in the student category were Jefta Mtole for the Women, bubbles as dreams pendant and Alexandre Antoine Thomy Vencatasawmy for the Unity ring. Second place was awarded to Vuyiseka Luke for Symbolic Messages bracelet, while Simphiwe Dumengane won third place for Heroic Symbols earrings. Bongumusa Mtshali achieved fourth place for the Izinyembezi neckpiece.

The the professional category, Sylvester Louw took top honours for The Spear of time bracelet, second place went to Magda Nieman & Abram Mathabatha for the Khoi San neck piece, Phumlani Mngoma achieved third place for the Isiphandla bracelet and fourth place was awarded to Manuel Mpho Helepi for the Revelations ring.

Over 250 invited guests, fashionistas and local celebrities attended the prestigious event, including the likes of businesswoman Sonia Booth; singer and songwriter Mariechan Luiters, The Voice SA finalist Lana Crowster, comedian Riaad Moosa, Miss South Africa Ntando Kunene, soccer player Manti Mekoa as well as MC for the evening, SABC2 anchor, Ayanda-Allie Paine.

Chris Griffith, CEO of Anglo American Platinum commented, “I am pleased to congratulate this year’s talented winners of the PlatAfrica Jewellery Design Competition. These awards are an important part of Anglo American Platinum’s efforts to develop local designers for global markets.”

All winners receive a cash prize; additionally, first prize winners in both categories are invited to attend and participate in PGI India’s design sourcing workshops early in 2017, exposing them to an international consumer and retail market. They will interact with renowned jewellery designers and industry experts to gain insights and skills which will help them in their chosen field back in South Africa. Should they be successful, their designs could be selected to feature in retail stores in India.

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