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All that glitters: Explore the fascinating history of South Africa’s diamonds at the Cape Town Diamond Museum


South Africa is famous for many things. If you ask most tourists what comes to mind when they think of the country at the tip of Africa, the first answer is usually: “Nelson Mandela”. The second is usually: “Diamonds”.

As South Africans, we often don’t take advantage of the many incredible tourism destinations in our own backyard. One of the must-do experiences to add to your list is the Cape Town Diamond Museum – a glittering tribute to the world’s most precious gem. Here you are able to experience, discover, explore and learn how rough diamonds are transformed into creations of fire and light.

The Cape Town Diamond Museum can be found in the lively heart of the famous Clock Tower precinct at the V&A Waterfront, conveniently situated close to the gateway to the legendary Robben Island. The museum is unique, being the only one of its kind in Cape Town, and the first to pay homage to the extraordinary story of the South African diamond industry.

Visitors are invited to explore the history, romance and realities of the history of diamonds. When were diamonds first discovered? Who wore the first diamond engagement ring? When were diamonds discovered in South Africa? What is the most famous diamond in the world?

All these stories are told with originality, style and sophistication.

The museum features a number of authentic artefacts from our diamond mining history. You can even walk through a replica mine shaft, complete with realistic sound and lighting. As you emerge from this journey into the past, the knowledgeable guides will impart gems of intriguing facts about the era – famous rivalries, fascinating discoveries and romantic gestures.

South Africa has produced some of the world’s largest, most valuable and memorable diamonds, including the Cullinan, the Hope and the Taylor Burton. Exact replicas of the world’s most famous and exquisite diamonds can be admired on display at the museum, which is designed to ensure visitors feel the excitement and mystery around these iconic gems, and leave feeling enriched with knowledge.

The entire journey of diamonds is tracked, from mine to finger – how they were shaped billions of years ago deep beneath the earth’s surface to how they are cut and polished. The cutting and polishing process can be viewed first-hand at the museum, making it the place to visit, whether you are a diamond fundi or simply appreciate the perfect beauty of the glittering stones.

The Cape Town Diamond Museum is open seven days a week from 9am to 9pm. Entrance is free. For more information, please visit or call 021 421 2488 for bookings.

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