Celebrating its 20th year of encouraging jewellers, students and apprentices in South Africa to design and manufacture statement jewellery pieces in platinum, 16 finalists have been selected in the two divisions of this year’s prestigious PlatAfrica competition.
Hosted annually by Anglo American Platinum in partnership with Metal Concentrators and Platinum Guild International (PGI) India, PlatAfrica is a market development initiative aimed at promoting innovation and technical expertise in platinum jewellery. While South Africa is by far the world’s largest producer of platinum, it only contributes a very small portion to global platinum jewellery production.
“PlatAfrica is one of our flagship initiatives to position platinum as the jewellery metal of choice. Over the years, our various efforts have contributed to establishing and growing platinum jewellery demand in China and India. Today, these are two key global platinum jewellery markets,” said Chris Griffith, CEO of Anglo American Platinum. “The competition has also allowed hundreds of South African jewellery designers over the years to gain experience working with platinum.”
The professional and student & apprentice categories were adjudicated by two separate panels of judges. The finalists were selected based on the quality and aesthetics of their design and manufacturing skills with the metal, which requires greater craftmanship than other precious metals like gold and silver.
“PlatAfrica offers a great opportunity for budding and professional jewellers in South Africa to work with platinum. For many students, it will be their first experience of working with the metal before they step into the professional world,” said Pallavi Sharma, head of strategic design and development at PGI’s India office, and convenor of the judging panels.
From left to right –
Left – Esther Boshoff and her team at Beaudell Designs’ neckpiece contains platinum, diamonds in a pavé setting, and four 9ct yellow gold chains.
Right – The Platinum Incubator’s Reply Baloyi designed a neckpiece of platinum and silver.
This year’s finalists are:
Esther Boshoff & Team; Aimee Bredenkamp; Chris Janse van Rensburg; Mandlenkosi Moses None; Michelle Fang-Yu Liao; Nihal Shah & Thembi Maduna
Reply Baloyi; Kgomotso Mashego; Nomsa Mpinga; Mandisa Zinhle Nkabinde; Mfundo Nondyola; Jane Schoeman; Christina Toros; Joanne van den Berg; Anke van der Linden; Marinus Verster
The winners will be announced at an awards dinner on Wednesday, 23 October 2019 at the Inanda Club in Johannesburg.
About the competition:
The theme for PlatAfrica 2019 is “Your love has gone platinum – celebrate the milestones in this journey of love”. Platinum has been symbolic of love due to its intrinsic qualities of being precious, eternal, pure and rare, and entrants were tasked with designing a statement piece for an urban customer of between 20 and 40 years of age, male/female, celebrating a milestone occasion.
The judges provided a number of design expectations to guide entrants:
- Less is more, yet be a statement piece;
- Look at creating modern heirlooms which will hold special meaning for the wearer for a lifetime and will never date;
- Design hooks are cursors; explore new stories and expressions; and
- Create a strong narrative for the creation.
In terms of the competition, Anglo American Platinum loans up to 20g of platinum metal to students, and up to 100g to professional jewellers for the design of their pieces. While other materials may be used in the design, platinum must form the core of the jewellery piece.
All pieces must be original, and entries included a short essay articulating the design, sketches or computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, and all scrap or filings from the manufacturing process. A maximum of 5% platinum metal loss by mass is tolerated. Metal Concentrators (MetCon), a PlatAfrica partner, handles all metal applications and returns.
The winner of the professional category will take home R20,000, while the top student/apprentice wins R16,000. The winners may also be considered to participate in PGI India’s design sourcing process in 2020.
From left to right –
Left – Chris Janse van Rensburg of Studio C Manufacturing Jewellers entered a platinum ring with tanzanites, rhodalites and diamonds.
Middle – A platinum armpiece by Mandlenkosi Moses None of Mo Nkosi & Nnete Jewellery Manufacturers.
Right – A platinum armpiece by Aimee Bredenkamp of Prins & Prins Diamonds.
Building the market for platinum jewellery
PlatAfrica forms a vital part of Anglo American Platinum’s market development strategy, which aims to build the demand for platinum group metals (PGMs) globally.
From a platinum perspective, Anglo American Platinum is one of the funders of PGI, a marketing organisation that was created in 1975 to develop the global platinum jewellery market. Since then, platinum jewellery has contributed an estimated 80 million ounces of demand, according to the PGI.
The organisation focuses largely on growing demand in Japan, which has the highest per capita consumption of platinum jewellery in the world, China, the world’s biggest market for platinum jewellery, and the US. In India, the world’s fastest-growing major market for platinum jewellery, Anglo American Platinum is the sole funder of PGI’s activities.
The expectation is that the Indian platinum jewellery market, which accounted for 170,000 ounces of demand in 2018, will continue to see significant growth and has the potential to reach half a million ounces within a few years. Overall, platinum jewellery accounted for about 2.4 million ounces of platinum demand in 2018, slightly lower than Anglo American Platinum’s total platinum sales last year.
In addition to jewellery, platinum is also used in the automotive sector to reduce emissions from internal combustion engines, in a variety of industrial applications, and as an investment product. An exciting new potential growth area for platinum is hydrogen fuel cells, which are increasingly seen as a viable, environmentally-friendly power source for heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks and buses.