Delve into Diamonds at the Cape Town Diamond Museum
Did you know that South Africa produced the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever to be discovered? Do you know what this super-diamond is called and why? Do you know how much it weighed, what the measurement unit is for diamonds, and the origins of the term? These are just some of the fascinating facts you will discover at Cape Town’s latest attraction – the Cape Town Diamond Museum.
Weighing in at 3,106 carats, the Cullinan Diamond is the largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered. It was named in honor of Sir Thomas Cullinan, the founder of the Premier Mine where it was found. Information at the museum details the fate of the Cullinan Diamond along with a host of interesting facts. Diamonds are measured in Carats, with the term derived from the seeds of the carob tree which are uniformly 200 milligrams in weight. In ancient times diamond traders would compare the weight of a diamond to carob tree seeds, and while today precision equipment is used to weigh and evaluate diamonds, the term remains the same.
Having been formed billions of years ago through various changes in the earth, diamonds have long been sought after as a symbol of status and wealth, and given and received as tokens of love and commitment. Visitors to the Cape Town Diamond Museum will gain insight into South Africa’s diamond industry history, including the chaotic times of the diamond rush in 1867 which had thousands of prospectors hoping to strike it rich. Within ten years of discovery of diamonds in South Africa, the country was producing 95% of the world’s diamonds. With all this wealth suddenly there for the taking, South Africa’s diamond industry history is filled with tales of rivalry and intrigue.
The museum also includes superbly crafted replicas of the most famous diamonds to have been discovered in South Africa, including the Cullinan Diamond, the Hope Diamond and the Taylor Burton Diamond, along with interesting facts about these sparkling stones that are reputed to be “a girl’s best friend”. Located on the first floor of The Clock Tower at Cape Town’s popular Waterfront, right at the gateway to Robben Island, the Cape Town Diamond Museum is a worthwhile addition to the itinerary of visitors exploring South Africa’s Mother City.