Govt Indifference Irks Jewellers

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By Desie Heita

Windhoek

Local jewellers are not happy with the Government’s apparent lack of appreciation for the Namibian Sun Cut diamond, which is Namibia’s own unique design.

A Namibian diamond cutting and polishing firm designed the cut. The Namibian Sun Cut is different from the traditional Brilliant Cut used by cutting and polishing firms around the world. The Namibian cut creates five percent more light reflection than the traditional cut.

The Namibian Sun Cut is depicted on NamPost’s new range of stamps.

“It is surprising that the Ministry of Mines and Energy is ignoring the Namibian Sun Cut, although it has been praised by international specialists, and is very sought-after by locals and foreigners,” said Andreas Herrle, the Managing Director of Herrle and Herma Jewellers in Windhoek.

Herrle and Herma Jewellers are one of Namibian designers active in the promotion of Namibian branded diamonds. They buy 85 percent of their diamonds from Namibian cutting and polishing factories.

The Namibian Sun Cut was created last year and the trademark has been registered worldwide.

Herrle said although the local beneficiation of Namibian diamonds has created opportunities for local jewellers, access to Namibian diamonds is still a problem. Sales of Namibian diamonds have gone up by 50 percent since the establishment of the Namibia Diamond Trading Company, which supplies local cutting and polishing factories.

“It occurred to us over time that only a few factories are interested in supplying the local market,” said Herrle.

He said the other factors contributing to diamond manufacturers’ lack of interest to supply the local market are that the manufacturers need the diamonds for their own retail outlets.

Herrle is also not happy with the allocation of uncut diamonds to local cutting and polishing factories.

He said “it is hard to accept” how the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Namibia Diamond Trading Company came to overlook cutting and polishing factories that have invested in Namibia for a long time. One of those companies is the one that designed the Namibian Sun cut. He said this “makes one wonder if the process of appointing the sight-holders has been just and open”.

Herrle also said the supplying of diamonds to local jewellers is too slow. Local cutters and polishers can only supply diamonds in eight months, with a few that can supply in two weeks. He said this makes it difficult for tourists who want to be supplied in a day.

“In South Africa, the Diamond Board and the South African Jewellers Association made sure that factories readily supply diamonds to local jewellers and by that making them very competitive. That’s why the Namibian Jewellers Association also insists on the willingness of local factories to supply local jewellers to enable them to supply the Namibians with diamonds at very competitive prices,” said Herrle.

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