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Meet Nqobile Nkosi, one of SA’s top jewellery manufacturers

Nqobile Nkosi, the founder of NQ Jewellery. Picture: Supplied.

Nqobile Nkosi, the founder of NQ Jewellery. Picture: Supplied.

Published Feb 7, 2022


What started as a small business in a back room in Soweto has become one of the biggest jewellery brands in South Africa.

We recently visited Nqobile Nkosi, a qualified jewellery maker who gave life to NQ Jewellery.

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Nkosi is a creative from Soweto who stumbled upon jewellery-making when searching for a bursary to fund his electrical engineering studies. At the time, there was no funding for electrical engineering but there was for jewellery manufacturing, so he decided to give it a chance because he did not want to sit at home not doing anything.

Surprisingly, he fell in love with it and completed his studies. He then undertook an internship in the UK, learning more about the craft. When he came back to South Africa, he launched NQ Jewellery in 2007, and worked with his brother in a shack.

NQ Jewellery pieces are handmade. Picture: Supplied.

In 2009, he won the Jet Community Awards Vuka Uzenzele, which helped build his career.

In 2012, he was invited to showcase his jewellery at the Spring Fair International in Birmingham. In 2013, he enhanced his skills by studying diamond essentials at the Gemological Institute of America.

“Diamond essentials is a programme that taught me how to put value behind diamonds and know which one is of good quality. It’s an overall study of diamonds,” he says.

In 2015, he was recruited by the Refinery to locate his brand at the Jewellery Village, where he manufactures jewellery and mentors up-and-coming jewellery makers.

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“NQ Jewellery works with up-and-coming SMMEs to ... coach them in terms of compliance, to make sure they are in line with the South African Jewellery Council and can get their licence.”

Some of the final products made by NQ Jewellery. Picture: Supplied.

The award-winning jeweller also works with universities to equip aspiring jewellers with the experience they need.

"NQ Jewellery is also part of the graduate development programme where graduates from the universities get work experience as I did in the UK. Students need to enhance their skills because the university and the real world are not the same. They need to enhance their skills and learn how to produce products,” says Nkosi.

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He adds: “As a proud South African, I feel that it’s my duty and an honour to help give others a chance at success whenever I can. It draws us all together as a community, making us stronger. Jobs are more precious than ever, and it’s up to each of us to try and make a difference.”

Nkosi, who won the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2016, coming out on top among 200 SMMEs, has had businesswoman Dr Tshepo Motsepe don a pair of his earrings for her appearance on the cover of a magazine.

This year, he plans to open a store at a mall.

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NQ Jewellery bangle under construction. Picture: Supplied.

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