Bahamian-Style welcome for De Beers by Diamonds International in The Bahamas

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De Beers representatives received an energetic and lively Junkanoo welcome at the Diamonds International flagship store in Nassau, Bahamas during a site visit in September 2022. In the photo from left to right are Roots Junkanoo members, Roswitha Katjipu, senior manager for sales and beneficiation, Namibia Diamond Trading Company, Shivan Sareen, general manager, Diamonds International Bahamas and Riaan Hussleman, key accounts manager, De Beers Group of Companies. Photo by Azaleta Ishmael-Newry

On Saturday, September 3, 2022, representatives from the De Beers Group of Companies located in Namibia were given a Bahamian-style welcome which included a Junkanoo experience and local cuisine at the Diamond International (DI) flagship store in downtown Nassau. Arriving on the Disney Wish, both executives spent many hours with the DI staff, sharing knowledge, reviewing diamond jewelry, and receiving feedback on the positive rebound of The Bahamas tourism market.

“This is my first ever visit on the Disney Wish to the beautiful islands of The Bahamas, and it’s really important and wonderful for us to be here,” said Roswitha Katjipu, senior manager for sales and beneficiation with the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC). NDTC is a joint venture with the government of Namibia and the De Beers Group of Companies. Riaan Husselmann, key accounts manager for De Beers also visited four of the DI stores on Bay Street that cater to a large cruise ship market.

Katjipu explained their relationship with Diamonds International. “We mine diamonds through onshore and marine mining, then we sort value diamonds,” she said. “The beneficiation aspect comes in with the collaboration with Diamond International because their parent company, Almod Diamonds has a cutting and polishing facility in Namibia.”

Almod Diamonds is a vertically integrated company which is a sightholder, diamond manufacturer, jewelry manufacturer and retailer. Their affiliation spans over 3 decades and Almod Diamonds is one of 64 sightholders from around the world for De Beers.

“We are very proud to be the only sightholder in The Bahamas,” stated Shivan Sareen, general manager of DI Bahamas. Sightholders are among the world’s leading diamantaires and are active in the major diamond centers. “Over the years we have made sure that our staff receive opportunities to expand their skillsets. For example, four of our people had visited Namibia to observe and learn about the diamond mining, sorting, cutting and polishing firsthand.”

Diamonds International also manufacture their own signature jewelry through Almod’s patented “Crown of Light” diamond which has 90-facets and is known for its extra ordinary brilliance. Every diamond is handcrafted, with each of the diamond’s 90 geometrically perfected facets being carefully placed to maximize the diamond’s natural prisms. A Crown of Light diamond is measured to perfection and is artfully hand-polished by any of 200 of the world’s elite diamond cutters. (Source: Crown of Light).

“I am pleased to see that they (DI) are bouncing back because as an industry, we all need each other. Their diamonds are being sold in an ethically responsible manner, our business practices are in sync, and we were delighted to learn about their upcoming community work in The Bahamas,” said Katjipu.

In 2019, when Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 storm hit the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island, causing billions of dollars of destruction, loss of life and human displacement; an immediate response was made by Diamonds International to assist evacuees who arrived in Nassau.

DI worked with local ministries providing food trucks and supplies to serve meals, and they also offered temporary employment. Months later, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and even when stores were closed, most staff remained employed.

“The goal of our company was to get everyone back to work. Our people are what makes us the best in this industry!” said Sareen. “We continue to employ and train people throughout the Caribbean. We have team members who have been with us for the past 20 years and there are many who have joined us from other countries. Additionally, we give back to our communities and, we are grateful to do this because of our stewardship, partnerships and customer support,”

added Sareen. “Nassau is the biggest port in the Caribbean, and we have impacted millions of people with our dedicated service and commitment to provide an extensive array of luxury jewelry and timepieces.”

More photo highlights below:

Roswitha Katjipu, (right) of the Namibia Diamond Trading Company, a De Beers Group of Companies affiliate and Rohan Pardeshi of Diamond International in Nassau, Bahamas discuss some of the popular Crown of Light diamond pieces. Photo by Azaleta Ishmael-Newry

Diamonds International, one of the largest jewelry retailers in The Bahamas and the Caribbean welcomed representatives from the De Beers Group of Companies. Shown in the photo are team members and members from the Saxons Junkanoo Group (back row). From L-R are Robertha Smith, Daneka Lewis, Tyiesha McKenzie, Shivan Sareen, general manager, Riaan Hussleman, key account manager, De Beers Group of Companies, Nameka Williams, Roswitha Katjipu, senior manager, sales and beneficiation, Namibia Diamond Trading Company, Gina Knowles, and Simone Whyte. In the back row are members of the Saxons Junkanoo group. Photo by Azaleta Ishmael-Newry.

Bahamian entrepreneur Brandon Kemp (left) speaks with Robertha Smith, manager (right) at Diamonds International’s flagship store on Bay Street, Nassau. He was a guest as part of DI’s focus on cultural experiences. Kemp had spent 3 weeks in Namibia as part of a missionary team on the Logos Hope, a ship ministry serving countries around the world. He was happy to share his experiences with the De Beers representatives. Photo by Azaleta Ishmael-Newry.