It’s evident from the way each of dk villas’ self-catering guesthouses is styled, outfitted, and put together that husband-and-wife team Johann and Petra de Kock have a highly discerning taste for the finer things in life. It therefore comes as little surprise that the duo has teamed up with well-known South African diamond jeweller, Shimansky. Every guest who stays at dk villas receives a complimentary ticket to Shimansky’s Diamond Museum at the V&A Waterfront. It’s a real eye-opening experience considering our country’s natural wealth in diamonds has been the progenitor of some of the planet’s most famous and expensive pieces of jewellery, as well as romantic novels, blockbuster movies, and even bloody wars.
Here’s what you can expect from a visit to, and tour of this fascinating museum and working diamond jewellery workshop, the only of its kind in Cape Town and a non-profit organisation dedicated to educating and creating an appreciation for the world’s oldest and most beautiful gem!
Experience the Cape Town Diamond Museum
The Cape Town Diamond Museum is located in the Clock Tower Precinct in the iconic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in the Cape Town harbour. Here, the Shimansky Diamond Experience takes guests on a thrilling tour that gives you a privileged peak under the skirts of the diamond jewellery world, from how these gemstones are valued and graded to cut, polished, and turned into exquisite statement pieces. The glittering, kalaeidescopic Shimansky showroom displays a coruscating array of loose diamonds in different cuts and sizes so you see how they are transformed from uncut and unpolished globules of crystalline carbon to glittering gemstones.
Some of the cuts are traditional, which you might recognise from the song “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” (square-cut and pear-shaped), while others have been patented by Shimansky and so are available nowhere else on Earth. In fact, there are more than five Shimansky internationally patented diamond cuts, the most famous of which are the ‘My Girl Diamond’ and the ‘Brilliant 10 Diamond’. During your tour, you’ll learn about the unique and beautiful facets of these diamond cuts and why it is they’re so exceptional.
Explore the history of the South African diamond rush and where it all began
All too often, diamonds are smuggled out of mines and sold on the black market. The conflict that arises from this illegal trade is the source of much bloodshed in Africa; hence, the term “blood diamonds”. Shimansky, however, sources its diamonds directly from South African mines and so are conflict-free. Independent international diamond laboratories such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) grade the gemstones, which are then given their very own Certificate of Authenticity.
The importance of all of this is to ensure that Shimansky’s diamonds are legally sourced and in a way that does not stoke the fires of war in our country and on our continent. This is just one aspect of South African diamond history you’ll discover during your tour of the Cape Town Diamond Museum. You’ll also hear about the discovery of diamonds in Kimberley (pictured above), the great names in diamond history, such as Cecil John Rhodes and the Oppenheimer family, and how South Africa became one of the world’s top diamond producing countries.
This history is brought to life through life-sized exhibits of some of the world’s most famous, record-breaking diamonds – replicas, mind you!
Discover how rough diamonds are transformed into creations of fire and light
All of Shimansky’s gorgeous creations are cut and polished in the on-site factory and workshop, which you’ll get to explore during your Shimansky Diamond Experience. Transforming crystalline carbon into a gemstone that optimally refracts every colour of the rainbow and explodes into fire and light is a precise science and requires many years of experience in order to master. Visitors will be able to watch first hand how Shimansky’s artisans cut and polish diamonds in the workshop.
Book your Diamond Experience Tour
The Diamond Experience Tour at Shimansky’s museum is an engaging and enchanting add-on to any tour itinerary in Cape Town. Also, it’s one that is immune to the weather, which can’t be discounted in a place with weather as schizophrenic as ours! And with the Cape Town Diamond Museum’s location right across the drawbridge from the spectacular and fabulously entertaining V&A Waterfront, you can make a day of your visit by going for a walk-about, a trip to Robben Island, and lunch or dinner afterwards. Simply bring along your complimentary ticket courtesy of dk villas and let the world of fire and light unfurl before your eyes!