Gauteng DestinationsCullinan, Northern Gauteng
The charming little village of Cullinan that has managed to hold on to much of its mine village character - its historic stone and corrugated iron mine workers’ houses, offices and churches a throwback to the mining times of the early 1900s - lies 30 kilometres east of Pretoria, and is a must on anyone’s itinerary when in this part of the world.
Cullinan is famous for the discovery of what became known as the Cullinan Diamond - the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found. The stone was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan who owned the diamond mine at the time. The stone, bought by the then Transvaal government was presented to King Edward VII and then cut into three large parts, an action deemed rather risky and difficult, but one that gave rise to the Great Star of Africa - the largest polished gem from the stone, also known as Cullinan I.
The second largest gem from the Cullinan stone, known as the Lesser Star of Africa, is the third largest polished diamond in the world and part of the British crown jewels, on display in the Tower of London.
Cullinan’s Oak Avenue, richly lined with both Jacarandas and Oak trees, is a living museum and tribute to this era - beautifully preserved Edwardian period buildings complete with picket fences, cool porches, appealing little gardens and a number of restaurants and coffee shops.
Cullinan still serves the premier mine, located on a rich diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe, the largest in South Africa. The mine is the third largest diamond producer in the country.