Africa Travel Week
Yair Shimansky

Unlock Africa: Shimansky – The man behind the brand 

The story behind South Africa’s iconic jewellery brand 

From the 798-diamond Desert Rose inspired by the King Protea, to their collection of Table Mountain-shaped rings, Shimansky has become one of the most recognised jewellery brands in South Africa. 

In just over two decades in operation, the Shimansky empire has expanded to include several jewellery stores — including a boutique in New York. It also includes an impressive diamond museum and showroom at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, luring in high-net income visitors from abroad. 

With such a stellar reputation of quality, Shimansky’s expansion continues to push Mzansi to the forefront of luxury jewellery globally. But what of the man behind this proudly South African empire? 

The story of Shimansky 

At the heart of Shimansky’s unmitigated success is none other than Yair Shimansky himself. As founder and CEO, the company’s story seemingly began when he first set foot on South African soil back in 1991.  

After spending two years in Japan studying the art of diamond cutting and polishing, he decided to craft and sell jewellery locally instead of returning to his native Israel.  

From humble beginnings trading at a beachfront flea market in Durban, Yair soon opened a small outlet at a local shopping mall (The Pavillion), which led to a fully-operated jewellery store two years later.  

As a natural progression, Yair eventually entered the world of diamond cutting and polishing, a unique and rare service offering amongst jewellers. He purchased a license to buy rough diamonds and other precious metals directly from South African mines, resulting in a fully-integrated service.   

To this day, Shimansky remains one of the only jewellers whose team takes the stones through every step in the manufacturing process.  

Expanding the Shimansky empire 

It would be fair to say that Yair is a true pioneer in more ways than one with the establishment of his Shimansky brand.  

Hailed as the country’s ‘Platinum King’, he played a major role in laying the groundwork for the use of platinum by incorporating this precious metal into his designs. With South Africa being home to 80% of the world’s platinum, it truly was a match made in jewellery making heaven.  

Shimansky was also amongst the first to introduce Tanzanite into the market. Mined in one known place to man (along a 4km area at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro), every Shimansky Tanzanite stone over one carat is certified according to the Tanzanite International Standard. 

Yair’s interest and involvement in all areas of South Africa’s diamond manufacturing and jewellery production business is one of the major contributors to the company’s success on a global scale. But more so than that, the company continues to share and showcase South Africa to the rest of the world through its global through its expansion (particularly in the USA).  

With tourism earmarked as a key economic enabler of the Western Cape, Yair Shimansky and his team are set to play a pivotal role in the recovery of the local sector, attracting international visitors looking to adorn themselves with ethically sourced South African diamonds.  

For more information, visit or meet their team at WTM Africa 2022 hosted virtually and live at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 11 to 13 April. 

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.