Lagos is the gem-rich, diamond-rich jewel of Africa.
In the last decade, the country has been a magnet for foreign investors, with more than half of all diamond sales occurring there.
Now, a new gem-cutter has stepped in.
A man named Ejiro Kawakami was brought in from Tokyo and trained as a jeweler and cutter, which makes him the youngest diamond-cutting master in the world.
He now operates Lagos’s largest diamond-blower, a 24-hour operation.
The cutting of diamonds is one of the few jobs that Kawakamy has not done before.
“This is a great opportunity to grow my business,” he says.
“It’s also a great way to build new connections.
I want to learn more about what makes people smile and what makes them cry.”
The young jeweler’s biggest challenge: he can’t use the traditional cutting tools of diamond cutting.
Instead, he’s using cutting rods and a vacuum-powered machine.
But, like many young jewelers, he says he’s struggling with his craft.
“I’m struggling with my craft,” he said.
“So I’ll do it for a few years.”
The new machine is one he developed himself, he said, because it allows him to cut diamonds faster and at a lower cost.
“My machine is the same kind of machine I used to cut my diamonds, but it’s smaller,” Kawakamis son said.
It’s the kind of technology that the jeweler would use if he were going to be working in LagOS, he added.
“That machine is my passion, so I want it to be my passion for my business.”