British actress Lily James, the Natural Diamond Council's newly appointed Global Ambassador, recently visited Botswana to experience the positive impacts the natural diamond industry is having on the country, and to see these precious gems at their point of origin.
Famous for her starring roles in Cinderella (2015) and Downton Abbey (2012-2015), the 33-year-old James recently received her first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her performance as Pamela Anderson in Pam & Tommy (2022). She is also the star of the NDC's global advertising campaign titled "To Treasure, Now and Forever."
James's trip to Botswana began with four days on Safari at The Selinda Reserve, a picturesque wildlife sanctuary that is home to thousands of elephants and the famous Selinda lion pride. From there, she visited the Orapa Game Park — part of the De Beers Diamond Route — which illustrated firsthand the positive results of the natural diamond industry's conservation efforts.
James also met with students and teachers at the Livingstone House Primary School, one of four schools in the community that are run by Debswana — a diamond mining company owned by De Beers and the government of Botswana.
This was followed by a visit to Lucara Diamond Corp's Karowe Diamond Mine, as well as the De Beers Global Sightholder Sales facility in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. Her last stop was the KGK Diamonds cutting and polishing facility in Gaborone, where she met with some of their employees. A majority of them are native citizens whose livelihoods are supported by the natural diamond industry.
"I've been awestruck by the natural beauty and the vibrant communities I've seen in Botswana," said James. "To know so much of this land — over 1,000 square miles globally — is protected by the natural diamond industry makes me incredibly proud to be the NDC's Global Ambassador."
Natural diamonds support the livelihood of more than 10 million people worldwide and nowhere is the positive impact felt more than in Botswana, where they accounted for 33% of Botswana's GDP in 2021. Botswana also has the highest percentage of women-owned businesses in the world.
"The natural diamond industry is an example to others as to how collaborations between governments and business can transform the lives of so many people and the communities in which they live," said David Kellie, CEO of NDC.
The diamond industry's partnership with the government of Botswana sustains a school system educating approximately 522,000 children a year. In 1966, there were just three secondary schools. Today there are 300 and every Botswanan child receives free primary and secondary education.
Additional benefits of the natural diamond industry include providing healthcare for more than four million people globally and funding critical infrastructure development, including schools, hospitals, and roads.
NDC's advertising campaign starring James showcases a range of diamond jewelry styles, from staples, such as tennis bracelets and necklaces, studs and hoops, to original creations including statement earrings or spiral bracelets.
Credits: Images courtesy of Natural Diamond Council.