Five American jewellery designers speak of the sacred experience they had when they interacted with communities around De Beers diamond mines in Botswana and how they will reflect this in their assignment to set priceless stones into a range of pieces in celebration sustainability in the diamond sector
De Beers Group has introduced ReSet, which is a series of collaborations with jewellery designers to engage in conversations around sustainability and to offer a fresh perspective on the positive impacts of natural diamonds.
The initiative aims to help ‘reset’ perceptions and shine a light on the significant positive contribution that natural diamonds deliver for people and places where they are found by collaborating with established and up-and-coming jewellery designers who will set diamonds discovered by De Beers into a range of pieces, celebrating sustainability in the sector.
The initiative’s first activation – the ReSet Collective – was launched in collaboration with five leading United States (US) designers who share a passion for natural diamonds and sustainable sourcing – Jade Trau, Jennie Kwon, Julez Bryant, Sara Weinstock and Zoë Chicco.
According to a statement by De Beers, the designers travelled to Botswana late last year to visit De Beers Group’s operations and a range of community and conservation programmes, learning about the company’s commitment to Building Forever, which focuses on building a positive legacy by protecting the environment, helping communities thrive, championing women and girls and being industry leaders in ethical practices.
Following the visit, De Beers said each designer created a unique pendant incorporating diamonds from De Beers, which was inspired by the people, wildlife and beautiful landscape of Botswana, as well as a shared commitment to helping shape a better world. The collection of one-of-a-kind pieces will be auctioned for charity later this year, with a supporting consumer engagement campaign. Colby Shergalis, Senior Vice President of De Beers Group Brand, said: “Through ReSet, we are connecting a community of jewellery designers to the people and places where our diamonds originate, so the designers can learn more about the journey of a De Beers diamond and the positive impact it makes.
“We were proud to host Jade, Jennie, Julez, Sara and Zoë at our operations in Botswana, and have been moved by their enthusiasm about sharing what they’ve learned and by their desire to find additional ways to give back. The beautiful and unique pendants they created are the result of months of work, in challenging times, spurred on by the memories of the extraordinary connections they made with one another and with the people of Botswana and we look forward to launching the collection.”
When each of the designers was asked about their experiences in Botswana, Kwon replied: “Us designers formed such a special bond while we were out in Botswana with De Beers Group and we wanted to commemorate the experience by collaborating on a project that would live on beyond the trip. As this project started to get fleshed out, it became important to us that the project feels relevant to the times, with so many things going on this year. Once it was decided that the proceeds would go towards causes that we each felt were relevant and important, the purpose became two-fold, so took on even more weight.”
Trau added: “The trip was life changing for me. So being able to memorialize it in a piece of jewellery was just the icing on the cake. It empowered and educated me in the rough diamond space, as well as the supply chain, and it makes me feel good about choosing to design and sell diamond jewellery as my career.”
Said Weinstock: “Fine jewellery is a passion for me, and one that is rooted in the beauty, naturality, and authenticity of a diamond. I wanted to be part of this campaign because I want to highlight to consumers – young and old – the good that the natural diamond industry does and the ethical ways in which diamonds are mined since there are some outdated representations out there. The gift of this trip was seeing first-hand the process and feeling confident that I am a lucky woman to work within the diamond industry. My dreams have been realized.”
Bryant responded: “I have chosen to be a part of this because the land of Botswana is sacred and it’s in my soul now. If we use diamonds from De Beers Group, then perhaps I can bring the magic of the people into my work and we can in turn contribute to their growth and empowerment.” Zoë Chicco remarked that she was “honored to be invited to Botswana with De Beers Group and an amazing group of my fellow female designers to learn more about the diamond industry, De Beers’ impact and the country itself. It was truly an eye-opening experience.
“What De Beers is doing in Botswana is supporting and lifting up the people and providing opportunities that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. One of the highlights of the trip was getting to go on safari with the women I had become so close with during our adventure and seeing so many majestic creatures in person. It was truly a magical experience for all of us.”