The consumer demographic purchasing jewellery in India has undergone a noticeable change over the last decade. The customer today is younger, fashion savvy and design oriented; seeking out exclusive masterpieces each time they set foot in a store. In competitive retail markets, talented designers are essential to the jewellery business. Brands constantly look for jewellery designers who can translate their visions into reality and create a lasting connection with the consumer.
Supporting the creative side of the jewellery industry, Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the world's foremost authority in gemmology, has applied its expertise into jewellery design training. GIA's programmes help budding designers gain a professional edge, backing their talent and ability with globally recognised educational credentials.
The institute offers a comprehensive nine-week Jewelry Design (JD) Certificate programme. Participants gain an in-depth understanding of jewellery design theory and artistry, mastering the professional skills to illustrate their ideas and inspirations. The programme includes a visit to a jewellery manufacturing factory, which allows participants to see first-hand how design translates into the creation of jewellery pieces.
GIA's five-day programme, SWIFT Jewellery Design, teaches the basic principles of design and composition. Participants gain an understanding of what goes into designing collections and the manufacturing and pricing of finished jewellery
From jewellery designers and jewellery manufacturers to hobbyists and entrepreneurs, GIA`s design courses enable participants to hone their talent and focus their interests.
G1A's next JD Certificate course is scheduled for April 18th at the Bandra Kuria Complex (BKC) in Mumbai and the next SWIFT Jewellery Design programme is scheduled for April 1st in New Delhi at GIA:s classroom, IIGJ -Jhandelwalan and on April 15th at BKC in Mumbai.
Sierra Leone's diamonds fuelled the 1991-2002 civil war, and are now boosting economic growth, but at the same time they are keeping thousands of children out of school.
At a mine resembling a lunar landscape outside Koidu town in Kono Region the diamond mining heartland in north-eastern Sierra Leone thousands of young men dig and shovel gravel in search of the precious stone.
"I had to support my family so I dropped out of school. When I could not find a job in my hometown1 came here," said 21-year-old Mumuni Diallo, who arrived in the mining fields when he was 17.
"I am very tired. l have been digging this pit for months, but so far 1 have found nothing. Still, in mining, every day is a new possibility," said Diallo, explaining that he was lured by tales of people striking riches.
About 70% of Leone's youth are unemployed. Twenty-year-old Alhadji Gborie, who left his hometown of Lungi near the capital Freetown for the mining fields, blames the government for failing to provide jobs.
"There is too much talk from the president. Let him come here and work for a day to see how it is," said Gborie, standing in a thigh-deep, muddy waterhole.
On November 17, Sierra Leoneans re-elected President Ernest Bai Koroma for a second term of office, helped by the fact that the country has seen extensive infrastructure improvement and economic growth in the past five years.
Driven by exports of gold, diamonds and iron ore, the country's economy will grow by up to 21.3% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, but this wealth has yet to filter down to most ordinary Sierra Leoneans.
"In many families, children are becoming the breadwinners," Esate Konteh, from a local NGO in Kono Region, told IRIN. "When the civil war ended in 2002, many families had lost one or two parents. Some of them had their limbs amputated and could not work or were not eligible for employment:
Children are paid 10,000-20,000 leones ($3-6) a day and 40,000 leones if they find diamonds. In Kenema, to the east of the capital, and Koidu around 3,000 children are estimated to be working in the mines, but there are no official figures and the number might be much higher, Konteh said. Youths work either in mines, open pit.
A new alliance of three rebel groups in the Central African Republic (CAR), which has taken control of five towns in northern-central areas, could jeopardize a complex peace process that has been under way since 2007.
The rebel alliance seized control of the northern towns of Ndele and Bamingui in the last few days, and has now also seized Bria, a central-northern town in the country's diamond-mining area. On December 18, 2012 following an appeal from CAR President Francois Bozize, Chadian troops entered CAR to join the government army in re-taking the captured towns. In a statement sent to AFP on December 17, the alliance said that unless Bozize's administration agrees to discuss their grievances over peace terms, the insurgents will do all they can "to change, sooner or later, this predatory regime".
The towns in rebel hands are Ndele, Sam-Ouandja, Ouadda, Bamingui and Bria, hundreds of people have been displaced from their homes in Sam-Ouandja and Ndele. The organisation noted that the towns' residents faced "restricted access to assistance and social services, and loss of personal belongings and livelihoods".
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the Danish Refugee Council, and the French Red Cross, which work in Ndele and other nearby towns, have evacuated their staff to the capital, Bangui. MSF is maintaining a minimum presence at the hospital in Ndele.
"The humanitarian community is deeply concerned about the humanitarian impact on the civilian population and urges all parties to observe strictly international humanitarian law, ensure that humanitarian access and space are unhindered as well as protect civilian lives and livelihoods," Modibo Toure, acting UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in CAR, said in a December 18 statement.
Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa project director for the think tank International Crisis Group, told IRIN that the rebels were "progressing quite fast and they constitute a real threat for the regime".
"They managed to unite and they are sufficiently well-equipped to challenge the CAR'S army and, except for the Chadian army, no force can prevent them from taking the road to Bangui at this stage," he said.
An earlier alliance statement sent out a lei list of political and military demands and made a cessation of hostilities condition a on the government's agreement to hold talks with them.
The rebels want: the implementation of the recommendations of the Inclusive Political Dialogue, which was held in 2008 among government, civil society, the opposition and the rebels; financial compensation for the rebels; the release of political prisoners; and the opening of an investigation into the disappearance o former CPR (Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace) leader Charles Massi and other "crimes':
The statement denounced, among other things, "the exclusion and the contempt, the favouritism and the tribalism" of the head of state and his family, as well as "the looting of the wealth of Central Africans by the government authorities who are supposed to protect them”.
The authorities have not responded officially to the seizure of Bamingui or Bria, or to the creation of the new alliance, though the latest army communiqué, dated December 12, noted the rebel capture of Ndele. The capture of these towns is a direct challenge to the government," Vircoulon said. "The demands of the rebels are very clear and illustrate a high level of dissatisfaction with the peace process. They basically consider that the peace process is unfinished business and needs to be reactivated."
The new politico-military alliance is called Seleka CPSK-CIIP-UFDR, and was officially launched in a press release signed by the three leaders on December 16.1t is made up of the Wa Kodro Salute Patriotic Convention (CPSK), chaired by Nureldine Adam; CPJP, chaired by Dhaffane Mohamed Moussa; and a dissident faction of the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR), chaired by Michel Djotodja.
The first two groups have signed peace deals with the government and were supposed to have laid down their arms.
A number of government soldiers have been captured or are missing. Twenty-two soldiers captured during the seizure of Sam-Ouandja on December 10 are still in the hands of their captors. Additionally, between 10 and 30 are untraceable since the fall of Bamingui, according to sources that also mention the disappearance of vehicles and other military equipment.
This sudden resurgence of hostilities in northern CAR could jeopardise the peace process and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the government and three rebel movements APRD (Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy); UFR (Union of Republican Forces); and UFDR.