Controversial Diamond Company De Beers Appoints Its First Majority Black Sightholder

Controversial Diamond Company De Beers Appoints Its First Majority Black Sightholder

De Beers has appointed Molefi Letsiki, who owns Molefi Letsiki Diamonds in Johannesburg, South Africa, as its first majority-Black sightholder authorized to purchase rough diamonds.

Israeli Diamond reports Letsiki is a second-generation diamantaire who graduated from the De Beers Enterprise Development Project for Diamond Beneficiation, which was created to help “historically disadvantaged South Africans” develop sustainable businesses and qualify for sightholder status.

Molefi Letsiki Diamond was among the companies in the first cohort of businesses in the initiative. De Beers Group operations managing director Moses Madondo congratulated Letsiki on his history-making appointment.

“On behalf of De Beers, I wish to congratulate Molefi on this momentous achievement. It was our ultimate goal when we launched the Enterprise Development Project to have the project members become our sightholders,” Madondo said, according to Israeli Diamond.

IDEX Online reports Molefi Letsiki Diamonds was established in 2005 as a custom-made jewelry manufacturing business and will be among 60 businesses authorized to attend 10 sights a year in Botswana beginning Jan. 1, 2023, to purchase the company’s rough diamonds.

According to its site, De Beers is one of the world’s leading diamond companies with expertise in diamond exploration, mining, grading, marketing, and retail. The company employs more than 20,000 people worldwide, many based in source countries of Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa. Earlier this fall, the company named Lupita Nyong’o as a global ambassador.

De Beers has been in the jewelry business for more than a century, and its brands include Forevermark and Libert’aime by Forevermark.

Additionally, in 2018 the multinational jewelry company launched a five-year pilot program to improve South Africa’s schools and the education of its children. In 2001, the company also launched a first-of-its-kind HIV and AIDS Policy and HIV Disease Management program offering free anti-retroviral treatment to De Beers employees and their spouses. The program continues today and has expanded to other areas in South Africa.