The Long History of Diamonds
The Diamond Industry Today
Shameela showed us the workshop where diamonds are cut and polished. Unfortunately it was a holiday; on another day we could have seen the cutters at work. It is an exacting process: the cutters are extensively trained and the diamonds have to be of the highest quality. Something else I had not realised was that there are international standards for diamonds, and a number of classic cuts. Each cut is designed with mathematical precision and the cutters aim to achieve the exact standard with every stone. The diamonds themselves are graded according to the “4 Cs” – cut, colour, clarity and carat.
But increasing emphasis is being placed upon a 5th “C” – confidence. Purchasers want to be confident about the source of their stones, to be sure that they have come from a reputable supplier and that they are not so-called “conflict diamonds”, illegally traded to fund wars or terrorism elsewhere in Africa. Shameela assured us that all of Shimansky’s diamonds are certificated and are sourced from within South Africa (or from Australia in the case of pink diamonds).
The Diamond Museum Showroom
For many visitors it is the finished product that is the main attraction. We stopped to look at full size replicas of some of the world’s most famous diamonds – including the Koh-i-Noor and the Taylor-Burton diamond – and then it was on to the showroom, where a selection of loose stones (for making up to your own design) and finished jewellery were on sale.
The items on sale come in a range of prices but Shameela let me try on their most expensive ring, a large diamond in a platinum setting. It glittered seductively and I could see why people throughout the ages have been attracted by the stones. But this one was beyond my reach, and regretfully I handed it back.