23 October 2013 by Denise Slabbert

The Cape Town Diamond Museum

A visit to the Cape Town Diamond Museum is a treat for those who want to find out more diamonds in South Africa (and buy some serious bling while they’re at it).

Exterior of the Cape Town Diamond Museum

South Africa is known for a history rich in gold and diamonds – Johannesburg owes its existence to the discovery of gold; the Big Hole of Kimberley and the Kimberley Mine Museum in the Northern Cape, associated with diamonds, are major attractions; and places like Cullinan (Gauteng) and Pilgrim's Rest (Mpumalanga) carry tales of overnight fortunes being made (and lost). 

Very often one of the things tourists are looking for when visiting South Africa is some insight into this rich history, and the opportunity to take home a sparkling reminder of their journey to the country. The good news for visitors to Cape Town is that they can explore the history of diamonds in South Africa by visiting the Cape Town Diamond Museum, which is situated in the Clock Tower of the popular V&A Waterfront.

The rather 'blingy' interior of the Cape Town Diamond Museum

This non-profit organisation is dedicated to appreciating diamonds and is the brainchild of the Shimansky group, known the world over for its exquisite diamond jewellery. The museum is considered 'a gift' to the city of Cape Town by the group, and it's certainly a wonderful place to while away a few hours.

The museum offers insight into the incredible history and heritage of diamonds in South Africa, including practical information about how diamonds form, diamond anatomy and diamonds through the ages and stages. You can also walk through a replica mineshaft. The museum is beautifully designed for maximum visual effect.

Yair Shimansky, curator of the museum, says, 'At the Cape Town Diamond Museum, visitors are taken on a personal tour and invited to explore the romance and realities of the history of diamonds. They can see life-sized replicas of the world’s most famous diamonds and can even walk through a replica mine shaft, complete with realistic sound and lighting. 

Whether you are a diamond fundi or you simply appreciate the perfect beauty of the glittering stones, the Cape Town Diamond Museum is a ‘must-see’ addition to your trip to the Mother City.

'At the end of the tour, they are able to see the cutting and polishing of diamonds first-hand. Whether you are a diamond fundi or you simply appreciate the perfect beauty of the glittering stones, the Cape Town Diamond Museum is a "must-see" addition to your trip to the Mother City.'    

Visitors to the museum can learn all about South Africa's most famous diamonds, including the famous Cullinan diamond, discovered in 1905. Replicas of this and other famous South African diamonds (including the Taylor-Burton and the Hope diamonds) are on display. The journey from 'mine to finger' is on display.

After you've had your fill of South Africa's diamond heritage, you can also view (and buy) the gorgeous diamond jewellery on display at the Shimansky store.  

The Cape Town Diamond Museum is situated close to the ferry gateway to Robben Island, and is a worthy stopover for any visitor to Cape Town.

The museum is open from 9am to 9pm seven days a week and costs R50 per person (children under 14 years and pensioners get in for free). For booking information, email info@capetowndiamondmuseum.org or call +27 (0)21 421 2488.

Cape Town's designer diamond museum. All images courtesy of Shimansky/Cape Town Diamond Museum

Category: Attractions

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