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March 05, 2013

Gemstones and jewellery: a Cape Town shopper’s guide

Family-owned Uwe Koetter Jewellers awaits in inspirational Cape Town for your bespoke designer jewellery. Photo courtesy of Uwe Koetter Jewellers

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then gold is her bosom buddy and platinum her soulmate. These are the lasting relationships that await the jewellery lover in Cape Town.

South Africa is known for its mineral wealth, and Cape Town is a top shopping destination for things that sparkle and shine. A visit to Jewel Africa, Destinee Jewellers, Shimansky or Diamondworks provides not only a fascinating window on the process of jewel selection, cutting and setting, but you can also enjoy an interactive tour about the processes that uncover rare gems for jewellery production. Either way, these gem houses are great resources for cut diamonds and other fabulous sparklies.

If you want a slice of local design by which to remember our beautiful city, you can either make an appointment to have your bespoke creation brought to life, or you can buy a ready-to-wear piece from one of Cape Town’s top jewellers. Try family-owned Uwe Koetter Jewellers, Mark Solomon, Olga Jewellery Design Studio or Chenshia for guaranteed, quality workmanship and discreet, secure service.

Chenshia, on the Mother City's Foreshore, is renowned for its quality workmanship and beautiful designs. Photo courtesy of Chenshia

Of course, safety is always a concern for a jewellery shopper, so be sure to take a reputable guide with you and make special arrangements with your hotel for the safekeeping of your purchases. If you are a super-league shopper, private security guards can be arranged through the gem house or jeweller.

When buying diamonds, it is important to insist on a certificate – preferably from the Jewellery Council of South Africa (JCSA) or European Gemological Laboratory (EGL). Another thing to bear in mind is the tax implications for your little treasures, as both stones and set jewellery attract 14% Value Added Tax. You will be able to claim this back at the airport upon your departure, less exchange-rate commissions.

Happy shopping – and may you find your perfect gems and be inspired by the beauty of design, mirroring the beautiful city that is Cape Town.

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