Last week I was invited to what can only be described as any girl’s dream event: an intimate evening with Shimansky. Diamonds, bubbles, sushi, pampering, you get the picture. What was the occasion? Well, you see Shimansky operates from breath-taking premises in the Clock Town at the V&A Waterfont, and given the nature of jewellery stores and workshops like this one, Mr. Shimansky and his team wanted to share with us the business’ accessibility, hospitality and offering. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t (under normal circumstances) step foot into a super-premium jewellery or diamond franchise for fear of the dirty looks I’d receive from the saleswomen who raise their evil eyebrows at anyone who looks ‘too young to be in this store’. I experienced precisely that at the iconic Tiffany store in New York last year. Pity, because I walked in with intentions to treat myself.
From the first encounter with the hostess at the entrance to the store, to the final wave goodbye, we were met with nothing but genuine generosity and hospitality. “Try on every ring in the shop!” and “Let me get you a necklace and some earrings to complement that rock. And then wear them for the rest of the evening and enjoy them. They’re nature’s gifts and deserve to be enjoyed and appreciated”, were some of the remarks made to me by the lovely Shimansky ladies. For the first time ever I felt zero judgement when asking to try on a R500 000 cushion cut diamond ring.
The workshop and showroom are hidden from the reception area which is mall-facing, for security reasons, and I’d imagine this to be a barrier to entry to most. But I’d like to encourage you to pay Shimansky a visit next time you’re at the Waterfront. The experience starts with a visual tour of the history of diamonds. I’m a geek for history and facts and absolutely loved this part. The world’s most famous and valuable diamonds’ replicas are on display and the sheer size and brilliance of these bad-boys can scarcely be comprehended. I was astounded by the black and white photographs of Kimberly when *that* diamond was discovered on the farm of the De Beers, and the mayhem that ensued thereafter. Here’s a picture of what Kimberley looked like during the diamond rush, and some others taken along the tour.
And did you know that a diamond was first gifted as an engagement rings by Archduke Maximillion of Austria (top right) in 1477? He aptly chose the stone for its enduring qualities which represented his love for this lady, Mary of Burgundy. We owe this guy, big time.
The tour leads to a walk down the workshop corridor where all Shimansky diamonds are cut and crafted on site. I loved being able to peer into the workspaces of the master-jewellers who so effortlessly create the magnificent jewellery we buy and wear. We too often forget about this part of the process. It’s rough, real, hot, sweaty and dangerous, a complete contradiction to the flawless showroom we enter next.
This is where [some] women’s dreams become a reality, and where the rest are afforded the opportunity to dream, like we were. Hair, make-up and nails done, Pongracz in hand, we pounced. My victim was said cushion cut, micro-set and surrounded by tiny diamonds. It was love at first sight and I didn’t take her off all night. I also had an affinity to the yellow diamonds, perhaps because I’m blond and love mangoes, I don’t know. What I do know is I had to wipe the drool from my chin.
The evening culminated in a toast by Mr. Shimansky himself, a session in the photo-booth and a prize draw which saw Emma walking away with a bottle of Shimansky My Girl with a diamond in it. Bitch Swoon. And in the end we pretty much had to be kicked out, which, in my opinion is the marque of a truly successful event. Thank you Mr. Shimansky for spoiling us and for inviting us into your home with such open arms. I’ll be sure to pop in regularly from now on, even if only for a cup of tea with your incredible staff.