A sparkling industry
South African gold and diamonds
South African diamonds on display.
© South African Tourism
South African gold and diamonds are in demand all over the world. These precious resources have inspired a local jewellery industry worth billions of rands. You’ll find South African jewellery on display throughout the country, as well as housed in local and international museums and collections.
South Africa has plentiful reserves of high-quality gold and diamonds. For hundreds of years, these precious resources have been used in magnificent items of jewellery, coveted the world over. South African gold and diamonds are well worth exploring.
In recent years, major players such as De Beers and AngloGold Ashanti have put considerable effort into the development of the industry, supported by the South African Jewellery Council. Inititatives such as gold jewellery design competitions and investments in gold jewellery manufacturers like Oroafrica are complimented by efforts to train young African designers in jewellery manufacturing.
The industry is primarily based in the Gauteng and Western Cape regions, with some manufacturing existing in the Durban and Bloemfontein areas. But you will find retail jewellery outlets in all major centres across South Africa.
Gold jewellery is extremely wearer-friendly, as pure gold doesn't react with other elements to create tarnish. To get the full effect of this when buying gold jewellery, it is important to understand the system used to describe the percentage of pure gold a piece contains. The higher the carat number, the higher the percentage of gold in the piece.
South African diamonds, possibly more coveted even than gold, are also subject to a system of quality assurance. When buying a diamond, always ask to see a copy of its certificate, as this is your only guarantee of the quality and value of that diamond.
Be mindful of the carat weight, which is the actual weight of the diamond; its clarity, as the fewer irregularities or imperfections, the more valuable the diamond is; its colour, because colourless diamonds are the most valuable; and its cut (not shape), which gives a diamond its brilliance and determines the number of facets in it.
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