Shimansky

A Jeweller's Insight

Mon - Sun | 09:00 - 21:00
 
+27 (0)21 421 2788
Level 1 | The Clock Tower | Waterfront | Cape Town
http://www.shimansky.co.za
enquiries@shimansky.co.za
ShimanskySA
Shimansky
ShimanskyDiamonds

A Jeweller's Insight

A sneak peak at Shimansky’s diamond and jewellery workshop in Cape Town

I've never understood the 'doe-eyed for diamonds' expression, but after embarking on an all access tour at Shimansky's diamond and jewellery workshop in Cape Town, I learned that much like a fine wine or a literary masterpiece; jewellery making is an art form in its own right.

Turns out, even just polishing a diamond is a full time job; and the more I learned about the process, the more I realised that buying diamonds in South Africa can be incredibly fascinating.

Behind the scenes of diamond buying

The first encounter we have as we enter the sparkling world of Shimansky is a workman delicately constructing a U-shape out of platinum; an ideal cradle for a semi-precious stone, platinum is incredibly durable and doesn’t tarnish or corrode easily. I asked about the polishing machine and found out that they use a special kind of wax to give the metal its smooth shine.

As the workman fashioned the cradle, I wondered aloud, “How long does it take to make a diamond ring?”

Our guide informs us that a classic solitaire (a ring with one single diamond) may take six hours to make, whereas something more intricate may take up to 18 hours. Diamond manufacturing is no high school drop-out industry - each of the jewellers who master Shimansky’s designer jewellery train for three to five years, during which they work as an apprentice; the majority are even born into the industry.

We moved onto the cutting room, where master craftsmanship and intimidating machinery seem to have made a happy marriage. One workman was busy cutting metal with an old-fashioned dentist's drill, and much like a tourist trying to coax a smile out of the Queen’s Guard, I tried to distract him from his precision with an intense stare, but he wasn't bothered at all.

In another room, another member of the Shimansky team was polishing diamonds using a Sarin machine with copper blades and diamond dust. This process demands continuous monitoring, and it can take from six to eight hours.

During a pit stop over a glass of wine, our guide goes on to explain the importance of cut, clarity, colour and carat, and the tremendous effect that all of these factors have on the value of a diamond; certainly points to consider when buying a diamond.

What's the point in a diamond if it doesn't sparkle?

The cut of the diamond is the most important of the four C's, and the benchmark-cut is based on the optics of a diamond designer named Marcel Tolkowsky. This Belgian engineer calculated the ideal angle at which the semi-precious stone claims ‘its most vivid fire and its greatest brilliancy’, meaning that perfect cut with which the diamond retains its ability to reflect the most light. If it’s cut too deep or shallow then light escapes out the sides or the bottom, leading to a loss of brilliance.

Apparently, all diamonds are compared with a master set at internationally recognised laboratories. Diamonds are then classified and checked for inclusions and blemishes using a 10x magnifying glass.

As we exit the workshop and transition to the jewellery showroom showcase, the sudden sparkling culmination of all of these processes is that much brighter. We stoop over a Scope viewer (magnifying glass) to observe a Shimansky Eight Hearts super ideal cut diamond, which displays a perfect eight-heart pattern when viewed from the bottom, and a perfect eight-arrow star when viewed from the top.

Our tour guide tells us that this is how one can tell that the diamond has been cut to perfect proportions. I was dazzled by the spectrum of rainbow colours and the way that light shone from every angle.

We also observed blue and violet tanzanite necklaces and earrings, a semi-precious stone unique to Tanzania and that’s softer than the diamond.

So, while I can say that a diamond is still yet to be this girl's best friend, the Shimansky workshop tour certainly cultivated some intrigue, and increased the value of a diamond in my mind.

Visit the Shimansky flagship jewellery showroom at the V&A Waterfront. Entrance will cost R50/p.

By Lisa Nevitt

Read more information about the Cape Town Diamond Museum.

Cape Town Events Calendar
February 2020
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Woolworths_ProductionA Haunting New Show With A Hilariously ...

Anything and everything will be made fun of in Juliet Jenkin’s new satire

mother_city_comedy_festivalPlanting Funny Bones And Growing Local ...

Come out to support comedians you know... and new ones you’ll love

spur_8A Birthday Song, Sparklers, And Pure ...

Chico the Clown, cardboard headdresses, and memories that last a lifetime

Hussar_GrillCook Your Steak And Eat It, Too

Plus find out how to make wet-aged beef and the perfect sauce to go with it

africamps_valentinesSPECIAL: Feel The Love This February At ...

Book this month to get bubbles and breakfast on the house

the_om_revolution_2019Sunrise To Sunset Yoga On The Beach Or ...

Sociable, mindful, fun and affordable group yoga classes in the park or on the beach

Polkadraai_and_popcorn_popcorn_and_wine1Polkadraai & Popcorn Wine Pairing Back ...

Check out the anti-serious wine pairing in the Western Cape with Polkadraai & Popcorn

african_relish_2019Prince Albert From Morning to Evening

Epic foodie experiences from coffee to dinner Monday to Saturday at the African Relish ...

aroundaboutnew3Season Specials And More With ...

From R200 vouchers and free upgrades, drive away with more value adds

William_Kentridge_2A Monumental Exhibition At The Norval ...

The iconic South African artist’s largest exhibition in Africa in over a decade

sotano_lambIt’s (Lamb) Burger Wednesdays at ...

... and while you eat, chill out to reggae by locals The Rivertones

sotano_lambTwo Lamb Burgers For the Price Of One

R110 gets you two fully stacked meals at both Sotanos

Seafood, sunsets and sushi at Blowfish BloubergHalf-Price Sushi Every Wednesday and ...

And drink in the sunset and view (and a cocktail)

Cherry_Glamping3Team Building is For Bonding, So Ditch ...

Hiking, biking, canopy tours and luxury glamping just 50 minutes outside of Cape Town

zingara_bombay5 Happy Hours, Every Day of The Week

And Cafe Paradiso has a weekend seafood platter special for two

vredenheim_2019_9Picnic Among The Golden Wildebeest on ...

A family game drive with a difference at Vredenheim

kaskaziBoost Your Week With A Hump Day Kayak ...

The chance to see ocean and bird life at sunrise and get to work on time

cocosafar_steak1From Rib Eye To Vegetarian – Here Are ...

Gourmet burgers and steak, as well as cocktails, are now on the menu at this all-day cafe ...

asamisOverload On Asami’s Sushi And Noodles

Get sushi and noodle specials three days a week

galileo_kirstGet Comfy at Kirstenbosch Movie Nights ...

Great films, fabulous scenery, delicious food and cosy seats – look forward to a night ...

HaskellVineyards 6Save On A Meal and Wine For Two At This ...

Haskell Vineyards offers patrons a delicious meal and glass of wine at a discounted price

beluga_whisylounge2-for-1 Whisky Wednesdays at Beluga

Your midweek escape just got a whole lot better with the 2-for-1 Wednesday whisky special ...

Leopards Leap Rotisserie LunchRotisserie Lunch at Leopard’s Leap ...

Snack on succulent skewered meats and seasonal salads at this hip, young Winelands ...

GrubandVine_food4Wine Tasting Every Wednesday at Grub ...

Grub & Vine’s #VineNight hosts a different wine farm every week

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips