Explore the History of Diamonds at the Cape Town Diamond Museum

Explore the History of Diamonds at the Cape Town Diamond Museum

Discover the origins of diamonds and the history of SA's diamond industry, and then visit Shimansky’s dazzling diamond and tanzanite showroom.

Diamonds are deeply intertwined with the history of South Africa, and the Cape Town Diamond Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into that history, along with the chance to marvel at life-size replicas of some of the world’s most famous and valuable diamonds like the Cullinan, the Hope and the Taylor Burton diamonds. Thanks to the expert guides and exquisite displays, this museum has become a top tourist attraction in Cape Town.

Cape Town Diamond Museum

Cape Town Diamond Museum

A knowledgeable tour guide is on-hand to take you through the museum’s various exhibitions and photo galleries, which tell the journey of diamonds, from their formation and excavation to the advent of diamond cutting and polishing methods. The experience even includes a replica mine shaft, complete with sound and lighting, to give you an idea of what it must have been like to be a diamond miner.

The story of the South African diamond industry is a central feature of the tour, and what a story it is! It began with a 15-year-old farm boy playing with rocks on the banks of the Orange River in December 1866, and a particularly shiny rock that he found caught the interest of his neighbour, Schalk van Niekerk. Soon after that came the Kimberley diamond rush.

By the 1880s, South Africa was producing 95% of the world’s diamonds, and the trade attracted a host of colourful characters. You’ll learn about them here too, including historically significant figures like Thomas Cullinan, Johannes Nicolaas De Beer and Sir Ernest Oppenheimer.

The replicas of some of the world’s best-known diamonds are fascinating to see. These include South African beauties, such as the Cullinan diamond – the largest gem quality diamond ever found, and those from elsewhere in the world, such as the famous Hope diamond, believed to have originated in India.

Diamond and tanzanite showroom

Shimansky Waterfront

The tour includes a visit to Shimansky’s impressive diamond and tanzanite jewellery showroom, where you can browse the meticulously designed, sparkling creations while enjoying freshly brewed coffee, or a glass of South African wine. Their expert jewellery consultants will be on hand to advise you, should you wish to purchase a piece of jewellery here.

Tours can be booked independently or as a group.

Exclusive Offer for Inside Guide Readers

Pssst! Until end-November 2019, the Cape Town Diamond Museum is offering Inside Guide readers free entry. Access your free voucher via the button below.

Free Voucher


Level 1, The Clock Tower V&A Waterfront Cape Town


021 421 2488