Diamond Empowerment Fund: Helping Africans Help Africa


(left to right: DEF Executive Director Ellen Haddigan, DEF Intern Lesego Mathware, DEF Board Member and former WJA President Phyllis Bergman, Miss Africa USA Nyasha Zimucha, DIVA award winner Evelyn Huang, WJA President Yancy Weinrich, DIVA award winners Susan Shannon of Lim Studio and Pamela Froman of Pamela Froman Fine Jewelry, and DEF Board Co-President Dr. Ben Chavis. )

The worldwide diamond and jewelry industry met  for a week in May to June at the JCK and Couture events in Las Vegas.  These independent multinational events bring producers, designers, manufacturers, retailers, press together. Most importantly, ideas and industry trends are shared through various networking sessions including panel discussions and keynote speeches.


Womens Jewelry Association held a press conference announcing this years Diva Gives Back winners at JCK 2009 and a cocktail party at club LAVO in Las Vegas. Special guest, Niyasha Zimucha along with diamond Jewelry executives were in attendance at both the press  conference and cocktail party. DEF would like to thank WJA and sponsors, GIA and Rio Tinto forbeing chosen as theis years charitable partner.


After the winners were announced at the press conference, Miss Africa U.S.A., Nyasha Zimucha, took the opportunity to address the crowd with some of her priorities as a representative of Africa in the United States, and how important it is for an industry such as the fine jewelry industry to embrace the initiatives put forth by both the WJA and D.E.F.

“I’ve always considered myself a DIVA,” quipped Ms. Zimucha to the eagerly listening crowd, “It’s nice to see the word associated with something as positive as this design competition and giving back!”


 DIVA award winner, Evelyn Huang was present at the cocktail party to share the great insight on her inspiration while designing the winning peice. Miss Africa USA, Niyasha Zimucha came to share her experiences, as a South African, she explained how important the Diamond Jewelry Industry in United States is important to diamond producing nations in Africa.


  Diamond Empowerment Fund, proud supporter, Simmons Jewelry Company, was also exhibiting at JCK and the DEF team along with Miss Africa USA, Niysha Zimucha visited them. Simmons Jewelry Co. has been at the forefront with supporting D.E.F through creating the Green Bracelet, D.E.F.’s first symbol.


Nyasha and Executive Director of DEF Ellen Haddigan and the Event.

Nyasha is a proud supporter of Diamond Empowerment Fund and its activities in Africa, empowering communities through Education of the youth, building schools and educating children in communities where Diamond is being extracted. Nyasha is proud to see DEF in action in her homeland South Africa.

It was the humble hope of Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons, owners of the Simmons Jewelry Co., that they could join in and make a difference in helping Africans empower themselves. In this hope was the genesis of the idea for the Diamond Empowerment Fund™ (D.E.F.) as a way to make a positive difference for Africa.

This Article is posted courtesy of DEF.