WINDHOEK– Pupils of the Five Rand Primary School have had a chance to discover the exciting possibilities of being young gemologists by using loupes, microscopes and other tools of the trade when they played gemologists for a day.
The pupils played geologists for day-long during an interactive workshop for pupils between 12 and 15 years from this school on March 30, one of the biggest informal settlements in Okahandja, courtesy of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the NamGem Diamond Manufacturing Company (Pty) Ltd. The learners were given an overview of geology, minerals, gemology and gemstones. They practiced with basic gemological tools, using loupes, microscopes and penlights to examine gems and exploring their characteristics, with all the tools and training being provided by Gemological Institute GIA and Elizabeth Bokaba, the Manager of Alumni and Client Relations for GIA South Africa giving the learners instructions. .
“We are very happy to see that companies such as NamGem that operate in our constituency are also prioritising the education and transfer of knowledge to the youth. I am very honoured to be part of this event as we are investing in the youth, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds, this opens many doors and windows of opportunity for them,” said Okahandja Mayor, says Valerie Aron. The programme also broadly focused onmineral in which Namibia is rich, with a specific emphasis on gems. NamGem and GIA believe that training in gemology serves as a gateway for the youth to explore and deepen their understanding of the world around them, while developing an interest and excitement about earth science through geology and mineralogy.
NamGem envisions promoting and strengthening Namibia’s diamond sector by making diamond education accessible to all Namibians, especially the youth, and by facilitating entry into Namibia of global leaders such as the GIA, which is the standard-setter for the global polished diamond industry. “Not only do we want to be an industry leader and flagship diamond manufacturer, we also want to promote diamond education in the country, as a way for bringing the Namibian people closer to their heritage and resources,” says Yoav Lavi, Managing Director of NamGem.
This is the second GIA programme to be hosted by NamGem. The GIA Junior Gemologist programme is based on the same curriculum GIA uses in its Graduate Gemologist diploma programme, a world-leading training programme for gem and jewelry professionals. The programme was launched in 2002 as part of GIA’s public benefit mission to disseminate knowledge and information about gemstones to the public.
NamGem is Namibia’s oldest and most proficient diamond manufacturing facility, producing polished diamonds of a quality equaled by only a handful of other factories globally. It is also the diamond beneficiation sector’s largest employer, and a major economic presence in Okahandja.