Shimansky Desert Rose Cape Town Diamond Museum
Shimansky Desert Rose (Image: Shimansky)
  • The Cape Town Diamond Museum at the V&A Waterfront, first opened in 2011, has been closed to the public for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • It's recently reopened its doors, offering a guided tour and a glimpse of the Shimansky Desert Rose which was exhibited in New York in 2019.
  • The piece of jewellery is made up of 798 diamonds totalling 24.13ct.
  • It's complimented by 42 tsavorite weighing 3.11ct, and the centrepiece, a desert rose crystal from Namibia, set in 58.80g 18ct gold.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The Cape Town Diamond Museum at the V&A Waterfront has reopened after being closed for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Part of the tour involves a glimpse of the 798-diamond Desert Rose housed in the Shimansky Clocktower showroom.

The iconic museum, which first opened its doors a decade ago, details the formation of these precious stones over billions of years and tells the story of South African diamonds stretching back to the first discovery in 1867.

Donated as a gift by renowned South African jewellers, Shimansky, to Cape Town, the Diamond Museum is run as a non-profit organisation. Paying homage to the history and value of diamonds – while affording visitors an opportunity to purchase jewellery from the attached Shimansky showroom – the museum's guided tour is an immersive experience.

Cape Town Diamond Museum
Cape Town Diamond Museum (Image: Shimansky)

From the diamond rush, to rivalries, and the famous people who helped shape South Africa's mining industry the full story is there. The museum also offers visitors a look at some of the world's most iconic diamonds – although in replica form – like the Cullinan, the largest gem quality diamond ever discovered.

Visitors also have an opportunity to learn about the elements which define a diamonds value. The four C's – cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight – are explained in detail, offering further insight into the precious stones' prestigious value which is often misunderstood.

Cape Town Diamond Museum
Cape Town Diamond Museum (Image: Shimansky)

And although most of the diamonds on display throughout the museum tour are simply replicas, one authentic piece of jewellery stands out.

"Patrons will see expert craftsman polishing and cutting diamonds in the workshop and will experience the final product up-close at the Shimansky Clocktower showroom, attached to the museum, which allows guests to view the fine diamond jewellery," Shimansky's Marisa Crous told Business Insider South Africa.

"This includes a look at the Desert Rose – one of the remarkable sustainable jewellery designs to be exhibited at the Salon Art New York 2019. The Desert rose is the colloquial name given to rose-like formations of crystal clusters of gypsum or baryte, including abundant sand grains. The 'petals' are flattened radiating crystals fanning open on the crystallographic axis."

Cape Town Diamond Museum
Cape Town Diamond Museum (Image: Shimansky)

The Desert Rose was first unveiled at the museum in December 2019. Covid-19 struck South Africa just four months later, forcing the country into hard lockdown, closing the museum and showroom. The reopening affords visitors an opportunity to see the Desert Rose in all its splendour.

"The breath-taking Shimansky Desert Rose features 798 ethically sourced South African diamonds, totalling 24.13ct, complimented by 42 tsavorite weighing 3.11ct, and the centrepiece, a desert rose crystal from Namibia, set in 58.80g 18ct gold," said Crous.

Cape Town Diamond Museum
Shimansky Desert Rose (Image: Shimanksy)

The Desert Rose's retail value when first unveiled in 2019 was estimated to be $42,000 (R619,697 at the time).

Those looking to visit the museum and experience the guided tour – which includes a view of the Desert Rose – need to book by either emailing or calling the Cape Town Diamond Museum. The museum is open between 09:00 and 17:00, from Monday to Saturday.

General admission is R100 per person. Entry is free for pensioners, senior citizens, and children younger than 14-years-old.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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