YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR SPARKLES IN THE DIAMOND BUSINESS
WORDS AND IMAGE: LESLEY VAN DUFFELEN
Artist-come-gemmologist, Tshepo Molusi (38) started T3 Diamonds and Diamond Consultancy in 2019 in a shared space in the Kimberly Diamond Centre school and jewellery incubator. Today he is looking to expand his diamond cutting, polishing and certifying business into its own factory, but needs investors.
“We have signed an agreement with the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism for a 140 square metre factory to scale up our business and we are hoping that, by January, we will be able to start buying equipment and move to our new premises,” said Molusi.
He needs to raise investment of R10 million to buy the necessary equipment and raw materials (rough diamonds and gold) to run his new factory optimally. To this end, he was an exhibitor at the recent C where he met potential investors from Angola and the Central African Republic of Congo with whom he is currently in discussions.
He also had interest from diamond buyers from Egypt and Algeria, but that is still some time in the future. First, the factory needs to get up and running.
Although Molusi was born in Kimberley, South Africa’s home of diamond mining, art was his first love. After matriculating in 2003, he studied for a fine art degree at the University of Cape Town but didn’t complete it.
Between canvases he did a “little bit of this and that” including being a licensed artisanal diamond miner. It was while mining that he decided he needed to invest more in himself. “I didn’t want to mine the diamonds without knowing the value of what I was mining or how to price the diamonds.”
He enrolled at the Kimberley International Diamond and Jewellery Academy where he completed a rough diamond evaluation course, a cutting and polishing course and a jewellery course. He then enrolled with the Gemological Institute of America and completed a Diamond Lab Grading Course which included grading for colour and clarity. This was the start of T3 Diamonds.
T3 Diamonds procures its precious gems from trusted and reliable suppliers and sells to recognised buyers and jewellers, delivering directly to clients in a safe environment.
The business currently employs three people – two cutters and a salesperson – and, while Molusi is involved in the manufacturing, he also runs the business’ administration.
He is looking forward to being able to employ more people in his expanded new factory.