A VISION OF BRILLIANCE
Owned and run by women, for women, Kwame Diamonds is redefining South Africa’s luxury jewellery sector
“Our slogan is ‘brilliance with a purpose’,” says Mosibudi Jo Mathole, half of the pioneering sister duo who founded Kwame Diamonds.
“What makes us different is that we are women-only, which is very unusual in this industry,” adds Co-Director, Khomotso Ramodipa. “Our mission is to empower women working in our business and give them skills to enable them to grow.”
The sisters, both professional diamond sorters and valuers who qualified through the Henry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School, grew up in South Africa’s largest township of Soweto and have always had the desire to share their success with others. But it wasn’t until Mosibudi became the first black woman in South Africa to manage a diamond plant and achieve sightholder status with the De Beers Group that they realized exactly what they could achieve.
“We didn’t want to be just any diamond manufacturer,” says Mosibudi. “We wanted to be a company with purpose: the first black-women-only diamond manufacturer.” That, in addition to producing some of the world’s most beautiful diamonds. “All our diamonds are responsibly sourced and certified by the Gemological Institute of America, but we’ve recently been awarded the quality hallmark of De Beers’ Forevermark,” says Mosibudi. “Less than 1 per cent of the Earth’s natural diamonds are selected under this rigorous certification process. It’s the gold standard within the industry.”
It is an incredible feat. Yet the sisters’ success lies not just in their perfectionism but in the creativity that inspires every cut. “Each stone has a story to tell, and our aim is to give them brilliance,” says Khomotso. “Take our 67-facet ocean flower cut, commissioned by the Foschini Group, which was inspired by diamonds mined in the ocean but also by the legacy of Nelson Mandela, who dedicated 67 years of his life to the emancipation of the black South African people.”
This innovative, limited-edition cut has afforded the sisters something of a celebrity status in the industry. Yet despite their dazzling success, they have not forgotten their purpose. “Future growth for us would be to afford more opportunities to more women,” concludes Khomotso. “The more women we can help by employing them and putting food on their families’ tables, the further we will have come.”