An invitation to join a day of Sparkles and Spoils with Shimansky Diamonds had me embarking on an itinerary that offered up the best of Cape Town, in fine company and absolutely indulgent style.
Meeting a group of fellow bloggers at Cape Town Helicopters at the V&A Waterfront, we enjoyed a glass of Groot Constantia MCC Brut Rose and excited conversation before embarking on a helicopter flight over the Atlantic Seaboard, taking in Table Bay and a clear view of Table Mountain and Signal Hill, before flying over the Twelve Apostles mountain range towards Groot Constantia. Here we walked the tree-lined avenues before being guided on a tour of the historic farm and beautifully preserved manor house. This was followed by a wine and chocolate pairing and delicious light lunch under the ancient oaks.
Tearing ourselves away from the moment, we were transported to the Clock Tower by luxury road transfer for our visit to the Cape Town Diamond Museum. Here we found ourselves immersed in the history of South African diamonds, learning how diamonds are formed and their colour influenced, as well as about the biggest and brightest to ever be discovered in South African. As well as what makes them most valuable and the importance of knowing where they come from.
After this, Yair Shimansky, founder and CEO, was waiting to meet us and offer a few inspiring words. In the showroom, we were able to see how Shimansky’s diamonds are cut and fitted to perfection and well as handle a rough diamond – a thing of my heart’s desire – as well as refined diamonds and tanzanites, try on various rings and dream of owning them. As the day came to an end, we enjoyed dessert canapés and conversation before bidding a fond farewell to each other; inspired, enlightened and ever more aware that diamonds and tanzanites certainly are a girl’s best friend and make absolutely perfect gifts that last forever.
The Cape Town Diamond Museum and Shimansky should be on all local and international visitor’s itineraries.
Cape Town With Cape Town Helicopters
The views from the skies over Cape Town on a clear Summers’ day, there is nothing like an aerial perspective and taking to the skies to experience the beauty of the mother city as it cannot be imagined from the ground.
Groot Constantia for a tour and tasting
Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest wine producing estate and has a history going back 300 years, with the wine that was produced here establishing a profound reputation in Europe. Today they aim to be a world-class stand-alone destination that captures the rich and diverse heritage of South Africa with guided cellar tours, wine tasting, beautiful restaurants, an art gallery and a gift shop. Not to mention the exceptional grounds in which you are invited to wander.
I couldn’t resist having a photograph taken in this tree-lined avenue at Groot Constantia.
The Shimansky Story
The Shimansky story began in 1991, when founder and CEO, Yair Shimansky, arrived in South Africa after spending two years in Japan. Yair started designing and crafting jewellery which he sold at a beachfront flea market in South Africa for a year before opening a small outlet in a popular shopping mall. This lead to the opening of a full Shimansky jewellery store two years later.
While Shimansky designed jewellery for his clients, the manufacturing process was outsourced, and he soon realised that in order to deliver higher quality in a consistent manner, a hands-on approach should be taken. During a business trip to the US in the early 1990s, Shimansky discovered platinum, the most precious metal of all, it was just regaining popularity after being banned for the manufacturing of jewellery during World War II. South Africa is home to 80% of the world’s platinum. It was an instant match, which made Shimansky the South African platinum pioneer.
The same approach has been adopted for diamonds. In the early stages, Shimansky bought them from diamond dealers but became dissatisfied with the quality of the diamonds and their grading and he entered the world of diamond cutting and polishing. Uniquely, Shimansky has a license to buy rough diamonds directly from South African mines, leading to a fully integrated eco-system with the ability to ensure that each gem is ethically sourced. In incredibly important consideration. Today there are 8 Shimansky stores, and I have no doubt that the romantic story is still in the making.
“Life is full of milestones and special moments. Let’s celebrate our journey.” – Yair Shimansky
Diamonds and Tanzanites
Diamonds play an integral role in the history of South Africa and a visit to the Diamond Museum not only pays homage to our extraordinary story but also educates on the 4Cs that define their value, namely cut, colour, clarity and carat. Some may add a fourth to the mix for the cost. The fascinating world of diamonds takes you from their formation over 3.3 billion years ago to their discovery by a 15-year-old boy on a farm near Kimberley in 1867 that led to the famous Diamond Rush. You’ll gain a greater appreciation for this fascinating gem and go beyond the obvious attributes towards understanding a diamond’s character.
The associated romance and harsh realities of the early day prospectors are brought to life in the Museum’s visual timeline and the replica’s of the Cullinan, Eureka, Millennium and other Famous Diamonds offer a better idea of how enormous these stones were and are. Formed deep in the earth’s crust by intense heat and pressure, once discovered the rough diamonds must be cut, polished and transformed into creations of exquisite beauty to be set in timeless jewellery. In the Shimansky showroom, look out for the Shimansky My Girl Design and Millennium cut that have both made waves with diamond collectors globally.
Equally precious and sourced deep in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, tanzanites have become one of the most desirable precious gemstones of modern times. Ranging in colour from blue to violet, or even purple they are described as ‘a geological phenomenon’, given that tanzanite is 1000 times more rare than diamonds. Tanzanite jewellery is extremely valuable and coveted, both for the gem’s rarity, as well as its beauty.
The convenient location of both the Cape Town Diamond Museum and Shimansky showroom makes it easy to combine with a visit to the newly opened Zeitz MOCAA Museum, Robben Island and the V&A Waterfront. I recommend a guided tour, although you can wander around the diamond museum on your own. A visit to the showroom is by appointment.
The Essential Details
- The Shimansky Diamond Experience and Jewellery Showroom offer a unique activity for local and international guests. It is conveniently situated in the Clock Tower Precinct at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront and operates 7 days a week, from 9-9 daily. The duration of the tour is approximately 45 minutes. Booking is essential, please do so at Tel: +27 (0)21 421 2488 or email@example.com.
- To learn more, visit the Shimanksy website: shimansky.co.za.
- To learn more about the Cape Town Diamond Museum, see http://www.capetowndiamondmuseum.org/ or call: +27 (0)21 421 2488 and
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Museum hours are 9am – 9pm daily.
- With thanks to Positive Dialogue Communications for arranging our visit. Do connect with them for any press queries.
- The day was captured to photo by Julian Godswain (the ones used at the top of the post).