Kgaugelo Molope (24) continuously improves his jewellery-making skills by designing new pieces.
The Polokwane-based goldsmith, who operates from the Seda Limpopo Jewellery Incubator (SLJI), says artisans must frequently work on improving their craft and developing new skills.
“Time refines the skill… My skill right now as a goldsmith improves with the amount of time I take to make a piece. Also, I am more efficient in terms of what we call consumables. These are the tools that break or finish quickly. I use a lot less of these,” he explained.
From 2015 to 2017 Molope trained as a jewellery maker in Italy, thanks to a scholarship from the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) and a National Skills Fund bursary from the Department of Higher Education and Training.
After completing his two-year studies abroad, he completed a training programme with the State Diamond Trader.
“The MQA provided students with a scholarship to Italy… After that, the MQA partnered with the State Diamond Trader, which funded the mentorship here in South Africa,” he said.
His trade certificate enables him to operate as a goldsmith, the highest recognised jewellery-making qualification in the country.
Without the SLJI his business would not exist, as he would not have the resources needed to operate it. “The SLJI is helping me with fire, which is fundamental for production,” said Molope, who uses silver, elephant hair and precious metals to create his jewellery.
The fire Molope needs to melt the materials he uses burns at about 1 000 degrees Celsius.
Molope sells his products through word of mouth and via social media.
As for the future, he aims to start a trade skills development centre to train artisans who want to enter the jewellery design field. “I am trying to get an after-school programme off the ground to train artisans,” he said.