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Celebrities and South African Jewels
Even the rich and famous are draped in Shimansky diamonds
Celebrity bling is dazzling, and there are some fascinating stories behind some of the world's famous sparklers. But have you ever wondered where the globe’s hottest and most handsome get those precious pieces from?
Since diamonds were discovered in the Cape Colony in 1867, South Africa has remained one of the world's major diamond producers and is the leading producer of platinum. It's no wonder that movie stars, musicians, models and politicians flock to South Africa to get their hands on an exquisite, and often specially designed jewellery.
Shimansky, one of South Africa’s premiere diamond and platinum jewellers, is no stranger to the A-list; he’s bejewelled both international and local celebrities, and he even houses replicas of famous South African diamonds in the Cape Town Diamond Museum adjacent to his showroom.
Famous diamonds for famous faces
Actor Richard Burton famously purchased a 68-carat diamond (known as the Taylor Burton) for his wife Elizabeth Taylor in 1969, which she wore publicly at Princess Grace of Monaco's 40th birthday celebration. The diamond, currently owned by Robert Mouawad, was the world's first million-dollar diamond.
The Cullinan 1 (also known as the Great Star of Africa) is the second largest polished diamond in the world at 530.4carats, and was found by Fredrick Wells at the Premier Diamond Mine, Cullinan. It is named after owner of the mine Sir Thomas Cullinan. Worth a whopping 200 million pounds, the current owner, the Queen of England, is sitting on a small diamond mine.
From politicians to royalty
In 1998 Shimansky presented Bill and Hillary Clinton with a limited edition, moving figurine of Nelson Mandela made from platinum, which was also given to Mandela himself. Clinton later expressed his gratitude for the thoughtful and beautiful present, "We enjoyed our visit to South Africa very much and appreciate these thoughtful gifts."
The late Princess Diana's niece, Lady Kitty Spencer was voted the Most Stylish Person at the 2009 SA Style Awards, while wearing a piece from the Shimansky Coronet Collection.
From royalty to Oscar winners
South African born actress Charlize Theron chose a 47-carat Emerald Cut Diamond Necklace, which she wore with a beaded Ralph Lauren dress to celebrate her Oscar win for 'Monster' in 2004. A replica of this necklace and the very dress she wore is on display at the Shimansky Showroom in Cape Town.
Though yet to take home a trophy, Vera Farmiga, the stunning actress who starred in The Departed and Up in the Air, fell in love with a natural diamond neckpiece with matching chandelier earrings in 2011 while in Cape Town shooting Safehouse. She told Shimansky that she planned to wear both to a Vanity Fair photo shoot in New York City.
As a token of his appreciation, and as a gesture that showed the jeweller’s respect for the actress’s style and grace, Shimansky presented Farmiga with a bottle of his My Girl perfume; making her the first to wear the fragrance.
From Oscar winners to musicians
Talented singer-songwriter James Blunt was presented with an 18K yellow and white monkey pendant studded with 5.50-carats of diamonds. The pendant is a reminder of his tour of South Africa in 2008. Also in 2008, singer Katie Melua, from the European State of Georgia, was presented with an 18k white and gold flower pendant with sapphires; it was inspired by the national flower of her birth.
World famous solo artist Lionel Richie was presented with an elephant hair and 18k gold cuff, and his granddaughter was given a My Girl diamond (internationally patented) pendant. Fellow American, pint-sized pop princess Christina Aguilera, is internationally known for her glamorous 1930's and 40's style. She wore a pair of art-deco styled, diamond encrusted chandelier earrings during her featured performance at the Unite the Stars Benefit, in 2005.
And from musicians to models and style icons
Abigail Clancy, successful model and girlfriend of England player Peter Crouch, bought two My Girl rings during a fashion shoot in Cape Town in 2009.
Presenters of the BBC's What Not to Wear, Trinny and Susannah could surely tell us a thing or two when it comes to stepping out in jewellery with style. Whilst offering fashion and beauty advice at the MasterCard Style in the City Style Academy, Susannah wore a collection of Shimansky Coronet Solitaire jewellery and Trinny wore an 84.7-carat tanzanite ring. Trinny bought a collection of murano, enamel and swarovski beads to take home with her.
Replicas of both the Cullinan 1 and the Taylor Burton diamonds are housed in the Shimansky Diamond museum. Visit the diamond and jewellery showroom, where Charlize Theron's Oscars dress hangs next to a replica of the diamond she wore and the My Girl diamonds just like the ones bought by Lionel Richie and Abigail Clancy are encased.
Entrance to the Shimansky flagship jewellery showroom at the V&A Waterfront will cost R50/p.
By Lisa Nevitt