Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters will be taking a piece of South African jewellery as the National Gift to the Miss Universe 2017. This year the gift will represent the best of South African natural resources.

What inspired the creation

The National Gift, designed by the Jack Friedman team in collaboration with Demi-Leigh, was inspired by the Namaqualand Daisies. This annual ‘miracle of nature’ occurs for only one week every spring in the West Coast region of South Africa. The dry desert region, framed with mountains in the distant background turns inside out for the transition into spring, whereby a breath-taking rainbow of blushing daisies stretch as far as the eye can see.

Namaqualand Daisies

How it all came together in the idea

Enamelling jewellery

The challenge for the Jack Friedman team was to re-create this incredible palate of colours in a piece of jewellery. The artistic technique of vitreous enameling was brought to South Africa from Russia in 1929, by the renowned jeweller Jack Friedman. Fortunately, before he passed away, Jack shared this secret skill with his grandson Howard.

This ancient technique of vitreous enamelling was used by the famed jeweller Carl Faberge in crafting the infamous Faberge Easter Eggs. These brightly coloured masterpieces were gifted by the Russian Tzar, Nicholas II to his wife and mother. This masterful technique involves super heating glass, which is fused onto precious metals in order to create the perfect contrast of vibrant colours, thereby recreating this incredible phenomenon of nature. This annual ‘miracle of nature’ of the desert in bloom, along the West Coast of South Africa is the Southern Hemispheres equivalent of the Northern Lights.

According to Howard:

“It was during the planning with Demi that we decided that the perfect national gift for the Miss Universe would showcase not only our precious natural resources, but the raw talented jewellery designers and craftsmanship we have in South Africa. The piece of jewellery will be auctioned for charity to a discerning International audience and therefore needed to be a unique design, and of the highest standard in terms of skill and complexity required to create”.

The Madiba magic and quote on the piece

Nelson Mandela

A quote by the late Nelson Mandela,

‘Tata’ is engraved on the solid 18 carat gold surface, which reads “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

This is sage advice not only for us as individuals but also for our Nation.

According to Demi-Leigh:

“The quote is ideal as it ties in with the Namaqualand Daisies that die and grow again each year, and like the daisies, shows the persistence and triumph of the people within our country.”

We also know that with this ‘Madiba Magic’, Demi-Leigh will be the finest possible ambassador to represent South Africa and come home with in the Miss Universe crown.

Region also has dimonds

Coincidently, this same region of the West Coast of South Africa is famous for the finest quality of diamonds in the world, with the highest brilliance and immaculately clear carbon crystal structure. Billions of years of evolution and erosion resulted in only the ‘survival of the strongest’ diamonds arriving at the Atlantic Ocean intact from the Kimberlite Diamond fields of the Northern Cape.

This is a wonderful example of the beneficiation of South Africa’s natural resources, including Gold, Diamonds and the most important ingredient, our talented and creative people.

About our company

Jack Friedman

Jack Friedman, arrived in South Africa by boat in 1928 at the age of 20 from his home in Riga, Latvia. He arrived penniless, but he had the jewellery and watch making skills taught to him by his father, and over time built one of the most reputable companies in South Africa. Jack Friedman has always had its own factory where the design and manufacturing take place under the watchful eye of Jack’s grandson, Howard. Jack created many collections that are still sold today.

The inspiration and idea behind the box

The Box design was decided to be the new life for of one the Oak trees that were burnt down during the devastating fires of Knysna on 7th June 2017. One of these once great trees that was burnt to near coal, has been rehabilitated into a hand crafted case to be used to house the African daisies jewellery piece.

What makes these trees so special is that they were planted by the town’s school children during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee on the 24th of May 1887. The day was then declared Arbour day, and these were the Oaks for which the Main Street of Knysna, was at one time very well known for.

The box was designed by : Johan Nel – Knysna Woodworkers – Marvellous craftsmanship from all his work.

Click here to learn more about Johan’s bespoke custom made boxes.

Wooden Oak Box for African Daisies

Enquiries about the piece? Do not hesitate to contact us.

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