This story originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.
Combining his passion for the oceans and diamonds, Benguela Diamonds’ Wynand Hendrikse creates the world’s first underwater diamond safari. Perfect for the adventurous jewelry collector, this day trip allows the opportunity to personally dive for gems and to create a custom piece of jewelry from your findings.
Take a private plane from Cape Town, South Africa to Port Nolloth, where after a short transfer to a luxurious seaside villa you will enjoy a delicious breakfast prepared by private chef. After a briefing, head out into the open ocean, and if you’re PADI Open Water certified, you can dive down with the dive masters in search of diamonds. The team uses giant suction pipes to bring the seabed gravel to the surface. It separates stones by weight, so heavier ones such as garnets, olivines and diamonds are deposited into a separate pan.
After diving, you will return to the villa for a gourmet lunch with wine pairings. An expert will bring the rough diamonds to the villa and go through them with you while teaching you about diamond grading. You then select a rough diamond from the haul to be used in your very own custom piece of jewelry. After you’ve chosen your gem, return by private plane to Cape Town and celebrate your good fortune with Ellerman House’s Dom Pérignon tasting dinner.