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Young Durban jeweller wins Anglo American PlatAfrica 2019 People’s Choice Award

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By Ashok Ramsarup :: As the saying goes “like father, like son” and it is no surprise that the young Durban jeweller Nihal Shah, son of prior winner Vijay Shah, has scooped up the Anglo American PlatAfrica 2019 People’s Choice Award. Nihal Shah, along with Thembi Maduna received the prestigious award for their unique ring design that won the hearts of the voters locally and abroad.

The award-winning master jeweller went onto the world stage in full recognition for his breathtaking sculptured ring that impacted on the judges during the final countdown.

26-year-old Nihal obtained his B.Tech Degree in Jewellery Design and Manufacture from the Durban University of Technology and pursued his ambitious career following in the footsteps of his father and mentor,  Vijay Shah, a renowned jeweller in South Africa. Nihal continued with contemporary fine jewellery in keeping with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as it engulfs the world. He has travelled extensively and is trying to implement an international standard of design in his family business.

Nihal has spent his career learning new techniques and artistry. He executes his creative process with sheer dedication and passion born from the exhaustive study of jewellery. Nihal is the third generation of jewellers in his family and has learnt a great deal from the generational jewellery background from the legacy left by his grandfather Kishore Shah, who was one of the pioneers in the jewellery business in the former Grey Street Central Business District during the apartheid era.

Nihal was able to merge his own personal touch with ancestral techniques that he learned from his father and various cultural groups in South Africa and Asia to come up with the novel idea to manufacture this platinum ring.

He said: “The design idea was always in the back of my mind, but I never had the opportunity to create it. It took many hours to get the shape right and I am grateful that we were able to capture the hearts of the voters that ultimately led to our success and the People’s Choice Award.

“I did not do it alone. Thembi started working at the company long before me. She started as an assistant and then my father slowly trained her and taught her how to work with gold. In order to create our piece for the competition, she was taught how to work with platinum, which requires an entirely different skillset, including research, time management, planning and motivation. Maybe next year, I hope she will be able to enter the competition unassisted.”

His father, Vijay Shah, had been instrumental in encouraging young Nihal in the jewellery trade. Vijay said his son was highly talented as he created intricate designs utilising platinum and gold in unique ways to come up with impressive designs.

Vijay had been complimentary as Nihal and Thembi forged ahead into transforming raw materials into something creative and “its way beyond one’s imagination”. “The new generation will greatly appreciate the creativity and thought processes put together in the manufacture of the ring.”

“Nihal’s vision of excellence spans several years. Time and again exquisite beauty has radiated across our collection, with new designs capturing the imagination of the newer generation of customers. Excellence, passion and personal touch are the core values of the business as we continue our philosophy to this day, investing time to our desirable collection in the 21st century,” added Vijay Shah.

Ashok Ramsarup is award-winning senior journalist of South Africa 🇿🇦 

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