Cape Town Diamond Museum Opens

Museum bills itself as the first to pay homage to the extraordinary story of South Africa’s diamond industry.

CAPE TOWN DIAMOND MUSEUM OPENS: With Anglo American’s $5 billion cash buyout of the Oppenheimer family’s remaining 40 percent stake in multinational diamond behemoth De Beers scheduled to be completed this month, flamboyant Cape Town-based diamond jeweler Yair Shimansky seems poised to take over as custodian of South Africa’s, um, multifaceted diamond heritage.

Shimansky opened the Cape Town Diamond Museum at the end of 2011 in the upgraded Clock Tower precinct in the city’s famed Waterfront district, his “gift to the city of Cape Town.”

This story first appeared in the February 17, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Hailed as the first to pay homage to the extraordinary story of South Africa’s diamond industry, the Cape Town Diamond Museum features, in an exciting experiential format, the story of the diamond — “the world’s most desirable treasure,” not to mention the oldest — from its formation some three billion years ago deep in the earth’s crust to the polished stone.

Diamonds were first discovered in South Africa in 1867, and some of the world’s most legendary diamonds came from the country and are represented as replicas: the Cullinan, the Hope and the Taylor-Burton diamonds among them.

The Israeli-born Shimansky moved to South Africa in 1991 and, soon after, began to create platinum and diamond jewelry, with a flea market stall as his first outlet. Today, he has four elegant boutiques in prime locations throughout South Africa, and is known for introducing new cuts such as My Girl and Brilliant 10, both of which he has trademarked, as well as dressing the likes of Charlize Theron and Christina Aguilera with his jewelry for red-carpet events.

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