The Natural Diamond Council’s ‘The Future is Female’ panel for International Women’s Day 2021 heard the experience of industry figures from a number of backgrounds.

Hosted by Melanie Grant, editor of the Economist’s 1843 magazine, the panel heard from one guest of her experience starting out in the industry as a black woman.

Jewellery designer Mosibudi Jo Mathole, founder and owner of Kwame Diamonds, told the panel how she left a stable job in banking to start a new business.

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She said: “I was a black woman in this male, white-dominated industry. I didn’t have any existing networks, or the required experience or expertise. It made me a misfit and made me have to work twice as hard.

“My mother was like, ‘you’re going to leave a well-paid job to become this thing we don’t know?’, but I was strong-willed and believed this was the path I wanted to follow.

“We don’t come from a rich family, we don’t have trust funds or inheritance. My sister and I had to put together our pension and providence funds to start our business.”

The panel also saw guests: Katie Fergusson, senior VP of sustainable impact at De Beers Group; Madeline Fraser, Gemist founder; and Roxanne Rajcoomar-Hadden, RRH Jewellery founder.

The discussion can be viewed in full below: