Durban - A rare rock that is 3.5 billion years old will go on display at the Pavilion shopping centre next week.
The specimen – a peridotite, which came from Kimberley – is a dense, course-grained igneous rock and is the oldest substance known to man.
Yair Shimansky, the chief executive of platinum and diamond jewellery design company, Shimansky, will be bringing the rock to his Pavilion shop from his Cape Town Diamond Museum, for locals to marvel at, from next Wednesday until Friday.
Shimansky said that peridotite contained single-celled micro-organisms, the first form of life on Earth.
It forms in volcanic pipes at depths of about 200km below the Earth’s surface, consisting of a dense iron and magnesium mineral called olivine, as well as pyroxenes and a small amount of feldspar.
The iron and magnesium- rich rock is the most common host for naturally occurring diamonds – and South African diamonds are obtained from a mica-rich form of peridotite, called kimberlite.
Shimansky, who started out selling R5 silver earrings at Durban’s South Plaza Market, before progressing to a barrow at The Wheel – and then becoming one of the most recognised jewellers in the country with clients all over the world – is also displaying a rare diamond at the Indaba tourism trade show, which opens at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on Saturday.
Known as the “3 billion year old portrait of a woman”, it is so rare it is not found anywhere else in the world.
The portrait was created by Mother Nature and is about the size of a R2 coin in diameter. At 4.76 carats, the diamond is priceless and not for sale.
What makes it so special is not its flawless artistry, but rather its imperfection, which is attributed to “nature’s fingerprint”. The portrait is visible from both sides of the faceted, flat diamond. It came from a dealer in West Africa, and Shimansky paid “quite a bit” for it.
l Walnut Road, in between the ICC and the Durban Exhibition Centre, will be closed to traffic until May 17, as the city hosts the indaba.