A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond is transparent with no hue, or color. However, in reality no gem-sized natural diamonds are perfect; the color of a diamond may be affected by chemical impurities and/or structural defects in the crystal lattice. Depending on the hue and intensity of a diamond's coloration, a diamond's color can either detract from or enhance its value. For example, most white diamonds are discounted in price when more yellow hue is detectable, while intense pink diamonds or blue diamonds can be more valuable. Of all colored diamonds, red diamonds are the rarest; the Aurora Pyramid of Hope displays a spectacular array of colored diamonds, including red diamonds. Diamonds occur in a variety of colors—steel gray, blue, orange, green, pink to purple and black. Colored diamonds contain interstitial impurities or structural defects that cause the coloration, pure diamonds are transparent and colorless. Diamonds are scientifically classed into two main types and several subtypes, according to the nature of impurities present and how these impurities affect light absorption: Type I diamonds have nitrogen atoms as the main impurity at a concentration of 0.1%.
If the nitrogen atoms are in pairs they do not affect the diamond's color. If the nitrogen atoms are in large even-numbered aggregates they impart a yellow to brown tint. About 98% of gem diamonds are type Ia, most of these are a mixture of IaA and IaB material: these diamonds belong to the Cape series, named after the diamond-rich region known as Cape Province in North Africa, whose deposits are Type Ia. If the nitrogen atoms are dispersed throughout the crystal in isolated sites, they give the stone an intense yellow or brown tint. Synthetic diamond containing nitrogen is Type Ib. Type I diamonds absorb from 320 nm, they have a characteristic fluorescence and visible absorption spectrum. Type II diamonds have no measurable nitrogen impurities. Type II diamonds absorb in a different region of the infrared, transmit in the ultraviolet below 225 nm, unlike Type I diamonds, they have differing fluorescence characteristics, but no discernible visible absorption spectrum. Type IIa diamond can be colored pink, red, or brown due to structural anomalies arising through plastic deformation during crystal growth—these diamonds are rare, but constitute a large percentage of Australian production.
Type IIb diamonds, which account for 0.1% of gem diamonds, are light blue due to scattered boron within the crystal matrix. However, a blue-grey color may occur in Type Ia diamonds and be unrelated to boron. Not restricted to type are green diamonds, whose color is caused by GR1 color centers in the crystal lattice produced by exposure to varying quantities of radiation. Pink and red are caused by plastic deformation of the crystal lattice from pressure. Black diamonds are caused by microscopic black or gray inclusions of other materials such as graphite or sulfides and/or microscopic fractures. Opaque or opalescent white diamonds are caused by microscopic inclusions. Purple diamonds are caused by a combination of high hydrogen content; the majority of diamonds that are mined are in a range of pale yellow or brown color, termed the normal color range. Diamonds that are of intense yellow or brown, or any other color are called fancy color diamonds. Diamonds that are of the highest purity are colorless, appear a bright white.
The degree to which diamonds exhibit body color is one of the four value factors by which diamonds are assessed. Diamonds have a color grading system; this system goes from D to Z. The more colorless a diamond is, the rarer and more valuable it is because it appears white and brighter to the eye. Color grading of diamonds was performed as a step of sorting rough diamonds for sale by the London Diamond Syndicate; as the diamond trade developed, early diamond grades were introduced by various parties in the diamond trade. Without any co-operative development these early grading systems lacked standard nomenclature, consistency; some early grading scales were. Numerous terms developed to describe diamonds of particular colors: golconda, jagers, blue white, fine white, gem blue, etc. Refers to a grading scale for diamonds in the normal color range used by internationally recognized laboratories; the scale ranges from D, colorless to Z, a pale yellow or brown color. Brown diamonds darker than K color are described using their letter grade, a descriptive phrase, for example M Faint Brown.
Diamonds with more depth of color than Z color fall into the fancy color diamond range. Diamond color is graded by comparing a sample stone to a master stone set of diamonds; each master stone is known to exhibit the least amount of body color that a diamond in that color grade may exhibit. A trained diamond grader compares a diamond of unknown grade against the series of master stones, assessing where in the range of color the diamond resides; this process occurs in a lighting box, fitted with daylight equivalent lamps. Accurate color grading can only be performed with diamond unset, as the comparison with master
Royal Asscher Diamond Company
The Royal Asscher Diamond Company was founded in 1854 by the Asscher family of gemcutters. The company is responsible for cutting some of the most famous diamonds in the world, its headquarters still stand at its original location Tolstraat 127 in the Netherlands. The company has regional headquarters in New York City and Tokyo. Royal Asscher is still owned by the Asscher family, a renowned diamond dynasty with a 157-year-old legacy; the Asscher Diamond Company, made famous at the turn of the 20th century by Joseph and Abraham Asscher, became the Royal Asscher Diamond Company in 1980 when it was bestowed with the honor of a Royal Prefix from Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in recognition of the company’s stature both in the Netherlands and across the world. In 2011 Queen Beatrix perpetuated the Royal Prefix for another 25 years. In 1854 Joseph Isaac Asscher, a known artisan in the diamond industry, established the I. J Asscher diamond company, named for his son Isaac Joseph Asscher, who followed in his father’s footsteps and entered the diamond industry.
He passed down his expertise to his two sons and Abraham, who become two of the 20th century’s most prodigious diamond experts. Under Joseph and Abraham, the company is known as the Asscher Diamond Company. In 1902 Joseph Asscher designed the original Asscher cut; this emblematic cut was the first signature cut to be patented. The Asscher Diamond Company held its exclusive patent until the Second World War and saw strong sales internationally. In 1903, at 997 carats, the Excelsior diamond was the largest diamond found; the gem required expert handling to be properly carved: inclusions within the rough diamond prevented it from being polished as a single stone. Abraham Asscher was charged with cleaving the Excelsior. Rumor and myth abound regarding the location of the diamonds; the Excelsior diamond was the focal point of the 2003 Victoria's Secret Fantasy Bra valued at $13 million with a jeweled panty for additional $1 million. In 1905 the Cullinan diamond was discovered. At 3,106 carats it was a legendary find, achieved instant renown across the globe.
The diamond was presented to King Edward VII, he invited the Asscher brothers to London to discuss cleaving the diamond. It was decided that Joseph Asscher would cleave the Cullinan into three parts, necessitated by inclusions within the rough diamond. Nine large stones were cut from the largest being the Cullinan I at 530.20 carats. In February 1908 a notable audience gathered to watch Joseph Asscher cleave the huge stone. In order to yield large, beautiful diamonds he needed to hit the Cullinan in the right place. On his first strike his blade broke, he dismissed all set to work creating larger, stronger tools. The following week, armed with new tools, Joseph resumed his work, allowing no one but the notary public in the cutting room. Urban legend recounts that Joseph fainted after striking the Cullinan diamond with a tremendous blow, he commented that the adrenaline surging through him the moment the stone split was so strong all he could think to do was to examine the stone and check his workmanship over and over again before rushing to the next room to share the good news.
The Cullinan diamonds were polished, ready to take pride of place in Great Britain’s Crown Jewels. During the Second World War's battle of the Netherlands the Nazis entered the Asscher Diamond Company’s Amsterdam headquarters and seized its diamonds. Since the Asscher family were Jewish they were subsequently deported from the Netherlands and interned in concentration camps, along with nearly all of the company’s polishers. During the war the patent on the original Asscher cut expired. With no one to renew the patent, other companies started to utilize the Asscher cut, leading to market confusion about the origin of many Asscher cut diamonds; some companies chose to call their Asscher cut diamonds square-emerald cuts instead. Many of these diamonds were cut for yield and did not follow Joseph Asscher’s original proportion calculations for the Asscher cut, which specified parameters for the diamond’s crown height, table size, facet alignment. Only ten Asscher family members and fifteen of the five hundred polishers survived the Holocaust.
Although once the world’s diamond polishing capital, the diamond industry in Amsterdam was wiped out during the war, including the Asscher Diamond Company. Antwerp subsequently emerged as a major diamond polishing center. In 1946 Joop and Louis Asscher were invited to utilize their expertise to start a new company in New York, but they chose to remain in their home of Amsterdam and rebuild the Asscher Diamond Company. In 1980 Her Majesty Queen Juliana of the Netherlands granted the Asscher Diamond Company a royal title in tribute to the leading, century-old role the company and Asscher family held in the diamond industry. With this honor, the Asscher Diamond Company became the Royal Asscher Diamond Company. Edward and Joop, Louis Asscher’s sons, continued the family legacy and researched the possibility of enhancing Joseph Asscher’s original Asscher cut, they took the design and proportion calculations and used computer modeling and simulation to look at how light would perform within the diamond if certain adjustments were made during the cutting and polishing process.
100 years after Joseph patented the original Asscher cut and Joop introduced the Royal Asscher cut in 2001. The Royal Asscher cut has an extra break on the diamond’s pavilio
The Cullinan Diamond was the largest gem-quality rough diamond found, weighing 3,106.75 carats, discovered at the Premier No. 2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa, on 26 January 1905. It was named after the mine's chairman. In April 1905, it was put on sale in London, but despite considerable interest, it was still unsold after two years. In 1907 the Transvaal Colony government bought the Cullinan and presented it to Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom, who had it cut by Asscher Brothers in Amsterdam. Cullinan produced stones of various cuts and sizes, the largest of, named Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, at 530.4 carats it is the largest clear cut diamond in the world. The stone is mounted in the head of the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross; the second-largest is Cullinan II or the Second Star of Africa, weighing 317.4 carats, mounted in the Imperial State Crown. Both are part of the Crown Jewels. Seven other major diamonds, weighing a total of 208.29 carats, are owned by Elizabeth II, who inherited them from her grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1953.
The Queen owns minor brilliants and a set of unpolished fragments. The Cullinan is estimated to have formed in Earth's mantle transition zone at a depth of 410–660 km and reached the surface 1.18 billion years ago. It was found 18 feet below the surface at Premier Mine in Cullinan, Transvaal Colony, by Frederick Wells, surface manager at the mine, on 26 January 1905, it was 10.1 centimetres long, 6.35 centimetres wide, 5.9 centimetres deep, weighed 3,106 carats. Newspapers called it the "Cullinan Diamond", a reference to Sir Thomas Cullinan, who opened the mine in 1902, it was three times the size of the Excelsior Diamond, found in 1893 at Jagersfontein Mine, weighing 972 carats. Four of its eight surfaces were smooth, indicating that it once had been part of a much larger stone broken up by natural forces, it had a blue-white hue and contained a small pocket of air, which at certain angles produced a rainbow, or Newton's rings. Shortly after its discovery, Cullinan went on public display at the Standard Bank in Johannesburg, where it was seen by an estimated 8,000–9,000 visitors.
In April 1905, the rough gem was deposited with Premier Mining Co.'s London sales agent, S. Neumann & Co. Due to its immense value, detectives were assigned to a steamboat, rumoured to be carrying the stone, a parcel was ceremoniously locked in the captain's safe and guarded on the entire journey, it was a diversionary tactic – the stone on that ship was fake, meant to attract those who would be interested in stealing it. Cullinan was sent to the United Kingdom in a plain box via registered post. On arriving in London, it was conveyed to Buckingham Palace for inspection by King Edward VII, it drew considerable interest from potential buyers. Transvaal Prime Minister, Louis Botha, suggested buying the diamond for Edward VII as "a token of the loyalty and attachment of the people of the Transvaal to His Majesty's throne and person". In August 1907, a vote was held in Parliament on the Cullinan's fate, a motion authorising the purchase was carried by 42 votes in favour to 19 against. Henry Campbell-Bannerman British Prime Minister, advised the king to decline the offer, but he decided to let Edward VII choose whether or not to accept the gift.
He was persuaded by Winston Churchill Colonial Under-Secretary. For his trouble, Churchill was sent a replica, which he enjoyed showing off to guests on a silver plate; the Transvaal Colony government bought the diamond on 17 October 1907 for £150,000 or about US$750,000 at the time, which adjusted for pound-sterling inflation is equivalent to £15 million in 2016. Due to a 60% tax on mining profits, the Treasury received some of its money back from the Premier Diamond Mining Company; the diamond was presented to the king at Sandringham House on 9 November 1907 – his sixty-sixth birthday – in the presence of a large party of guests, including the Queen of Norway, the Queen of Spain, the Duke of Westminster and Lord Revelstoke. The king asked his colonial secretary, Lord Elgin, to announce that he accepted the gift "for myself and my successors" and that he would ensure "this great and unique diamond be kept and preserved among the historic jewels which form the heirlooms of the Crown"; the king chose Asscher Brothers of Amsterdam to cleave and polish the rough stone into brilliant gems of various cuts and sizes.
Abraham Asscher collected it from the Colonial Office in London on 23 January 1908. He returned to the Netherlands by ferry with the diamond in his coat pocket. Meanwhile, to much fanfare, a Royal Navy ship carried an empty box across the North Sea, again throwing off potential thieves; the captain had no idea that his "precious" cargo was a decoy. On 10 February 1908, the rough stone was split in half by Joseph Asscher at his diamond-cutting factory in Amsterdam. At the time, technology had not yet evolved to guarantee the quality of modern standards, cutting the diamond was difficult and risky. After weeks of planning, an incision 0.5 inches deep was made to enable Asscher to cleave the diamond in one blow. Making the incision alone took four days, a steel knife broke on the first attempt, but a second knife was fitted into the groove and split it clean in two along one of four possible cleavage planes. In all and cutting the diamond took eight months, with three people working 14 hours per day to complete the task."The tale is told of Joseph Asscher, the greatest cleaver of the day," wrote Matthew Hart in his book Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession, "that when he prepared to cleave
Diamond is a solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic. At room temperature and pressure, another solid form of carbon known as graphite is the chemically stable form, but diamond never converts to it. Diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any natural material, properties that are utilized in major industrial applications such as cutting and polishing tools, they are the reason that diamond anvil cells can subject materials to pressures found deep in the Earth. Because the arrangement of atoms in diamond is rigid, few types of impurity can contaminate it. Small numbers of defects or impurities color diamond blue, brown, purple, orange or red. Diamond has high optical dispersion. Most natural diamonds have ages between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years. Most were formed at depths between 150 and 250 kilometers in the Earth's mantle, although a few have come from as deep as 800 kilometers. Under high pressure and temperature, carbon-containing fluids dissolved minerals and replaced them with diamonds.
Much more they were carried to the surface in volcanic eruptions and deposited in igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites. Synthetic diamonds can be grown from high-purity carbon under high pressures and temperatures or from hydrocarbon gas by chemical vapor deposition. Imitation diamonds can be made out of materials such as cubic zirconia and silicon carbide. Natural and imitation diamonds are most distinguished using optical techniques or thermal conductivity measurements. Diamond is a solid form of pure carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal. Solid carbon comes in different forms known as allotropes depending on the type of chemical bond; the two most common allotropes of pure carbon are graphite. In graphite the bonds are sp2 orbital hybrids and the atoms form in planes with each bound to three nearest neighbors 120 degrees apart. In diamond they are sp3 and the atoms form tetrahedra with each bound to four nearest neighbors. Tetrahedra are rigid, the bonds are strong, of all known substances diamond has the greatest number of atoms per unit volume, why it is both the hardest and the least compressible.
It has a high density, ranging from 3150 to 3530 kilograms per cubic metre in natural diamonds and 3520 kg/m³ in pure diamond. In graphite, the bonds between nearest neighbors are stronger but the bonds between planes are weak, so the planes can slip past each other. Thus, graphite is much softer than diamond. However, the stronger bonds make graphite less flammable. Diamonds have been adapted for many uses because of the material's exceptional physical characteristics. Most notable are its extreme hardness and thermal conductivity, as well as wide bandgap and high optical dispersion. Diamond's ignition point is 720 -- 800 °C in 850 -- 1000 °C in air; the equilibrium pressure and temperature conditions for a transition between graphite and diamond is well established theoretically and experimentally. The pressure changes linearly between 1.7 GPa at 0 K and 12 GPa at 5000 K. However, the phases have a wide region about this line where they can coexist. At normal temperature and pressure, 20 °C and 1 standard atmosphere, the stable phase of carbon is graphite, but diamond is metastable and its rate of conversion to graphite is negligible.
However, at temperatures above about 4500 K, diamond converts to graphite. Rapid conversion of graphite to diamond requires pressures well above the equilibrium line: at 2000 K, a pressure of 35 GPa is needed. Above the triple point, the melting point of diamond increases with increasing pressure. At high pressures and germanium have a BC8 body-centered cubic crystal structure, a similar structure is predicted for carbon at high pressures. At 0 K, the transition is predicted to occur at 1100 GPa; the most common crystal structure of diamond is called diamond cubic. It is formed of unit cells stacked together. Although there are 18 atoms in the figure, each corner atom is shared by eight unit cells and each atom in the center of a face is shared by two, so there are a total of eight atoms per unit cell; each side of the unit cell is 3.57 angstroms in length. A diamond cubic lattice can be thought of as two interpenetrating face-centered cubic lattices with one displaced by 1/4 of the diagonal along a cubic cell, or as one lattice with two atoms associated with each lattice point.
Looked at from a <1 1 1> crystallographic direction, it is formed of layers stacked in a repeating ABCABC... pattern. Diamonds can form an ABAB... structure, known as hexagonal diamond or lonsdaleite, but this is far less common and is formed under different conditions from cubic carbon. Diamonds occur most as euhedral or rounded octahedra and twinned octahedra known as macles; as diamond's crystal structure has a cubic arrangement of the atoms, they have many facets that belong to a cube, rhombicosidodecahedron, tetrakis hexahedron or disdyakis dodecahedron. The crystals can be elongated. Diamonds are found coated in nyf, an opaque gum-like skin; some diamonds have opaque fibers. They are referred to as opaque if the fibers
A diamond cut is a style or design guide used when shaping a diamond for polishing such as the brilliant cut. Cut does not refer to shape, but the symmetry and polish of a diamond; the cut of a diamond affects a diamond's brilliance. In order to best use a diamond gemstone's material properties, a number of different diamond cuts have been developed. A diamond cut constitutes a more or less symmetrical arrangement of facets, which together modify the shape and appearance of a diamond crystal. Diamond cutters must consider several factors, such as the shape and size of the crystal, when choosing a cut; the practical history of diamond cuts can be traced back to the Middle Ages, while their theoretical basis was not developed until the turn of the 20th century. Design creation and innovation continue to the present day: new technology—notably laser cutting and computer-aided design—has enabled the development of cuts whose complexity, optical performance, waste reduction were hitherto unthinkable.
The most popular of diamond cuts is the modern round brilliant, whose facet arrangements and proportions have been perfected by both mathematical and empirical analysis. Popular are the fancy cuts, which come in a variety of shapes, many of which were derived from the round brilliant. A diamond's cut is evaluated by trained graders, with higher grades given to stones whose symmetry and proportions most match the particular "ideal" used as a benchmark; the strictest standards are applied to the round brilliant. Different countries base their cut grading on different ideals: one may speak of the American Standard or the Scandinavian Standard, to give but two examples; the history of diamond cuts can be traced to the late Middle Ages, before which time diamonds were employed in their natural octahedral state—anhedral diamonds were not used in jewelry. The first "improvements" on nature's design involved a simple polishing of the octahedral crystal faces to create and unblemished facets, or to fashion the desired octahedral shape out of an otherwise unappealing piece of rough.
This was called the point cut and dates from the mid 14th century. By the mid 15th century, the point cut began to be improved upon: a little less than one half of the octahedron would be sawn off, creating the table cut; the importance of a culet was realised, some table-cut stones may possess one. The addition of four corner facets created the old single cut. Neither of these early cuts would reveal. At the time, diamond was valued chiefly for its adamantine superlative hardness. For this reason, colored gemstones such as ruby and sapphire were far more popular in jewelry of the era. In or around 1476, Lodewyk van Berquem, a Flemish polisher of Bruges, introduced the technique of absolute symmetry in the disposition of facets using a device of his own invention, the scaif, he cut stones in the shape known as briolette. About the middle of the 16th century, the rose or rosette was introduced in Antwerp: it consisted of triangular facets arranged in a symmetrical radiating pattern, but with the bottom of the stone left flat—essentially a crown without a pavilion.
Many large, famous Indian diamonds of old feature a rose-like cut. However, Indian "rose cuts" were far less symmetrical as their cutters had the primary interest of conserving carat weight, due to the divine status of diamond in India. In either event, the rose cut continued to evolve, with its depth and arrangements of facets being tweaked; the first brilliant cuts were introduced in the middle of the 17th century. Known as Mazarins, they had 17 facets on the crown, they are called double-cut brilliants as they are seen as a step up from old single cuts. Vincent Peruzzi, a Venetian polisher increased the number of crown facets from 17 to 33, thereby increasing the fire and brilliance of the cut gem, properties that in the Mazarin were incomparably better than in the rose, yet Peruzzi-cut diamonds, when seen nowadays, seem exceedingly dull compared to modern-cut brilliants. Because the practice of bruting had not yet been developed, these early brilliants were all rounded squares or rectangles in cross-section.
Given the general name of cushion—what are known today as old mine cuts—these were common by the early 18th century. Sometime the old European cut was developed, which had a shallower pavilion, more rounded shape, different arrangement of facets; the old European cut was the forerunner of modern brilliants and was the most advanced in use during the 19th century. Around 1900, the development of diamond saws and good jewelry lathes enabled the development of modern diamond cutting and diamond cuts, chief among them the round brilliant cut. In 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky analyzed this cut: his calculations took both brilliance and fire into consideration, creating a delicate balance between the two. Tolkowsky's calculations would serve as the basis for all future brilliant cut modifications and standards. Tolkowsky's model of the "ideal" cut is not perfect; the original mo
Kimberley, Northern Cape
Kimberley is the capital and largest city of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is located 110 km east of the confluence of the Vaal and Orange Rivers; the city has considerable historical significance due to its diamond mining past and the siege during the Second Boer War. British businessmen Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato made their fortunes in Kimberley, Rhodes established the De Beers diamond company in the early days of the mining town. On September 2, 1882, Kimberley was the first city in the Southern Hemisphere and the second in the world after Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States to integrate electric street lights into its infrastructure; the first Stock Exchange in Africa was built in Kimberley, as early as 1881. In 1866, Erasmus Jacobs found a small brilliant pebble on the banks of the Orange River, on the farm De Kalk leased from local Griquas, near Hopetown, his father's farm, he showed the pebble to his father. The pebble was purchased from Jacobs by Schalk van Niekerk, who sold it.
It proved to be a 21.25-carat diamond, became known as the Eureka. Three years in 1869, an 83.5-carat diamond, which became known as the Star of South Africa, was found nearby. This diamond was sold by van Niekerk for £11,200 and resold in the London market for £25,000. Henry Richard Giddy recounted how Esau Damoense, the cook for prospector Fleetwood Rawstone's "Red Cap Party", found diamonds in 1871 on Colesberg Kopje after he was sent there to dig as punishment. Rawstorne took the news to the nearby diggings of the De Beer brothers — his arrival there sparking off the famous "New Rush" which, as historian Brian Roberts puts it, was a stampede. Within a month 800 claims were cut into the hillock which were worked frenetically by two to three thousand men; as the land was lowered so the hillock became a mine – in time, the world-renowned Kimberley Mine. The Cape Colony, Orange Free State and the Griqua leader Nicolaas Waterboer all laid claim to the diamond fields; the Free State Boers in particular wanted the area as it lay inside the natural borders created by Orange and Vaal Rivers.
Following the mediation, overseen by the governor of Natal, the Keate Award went in favour of Waterboer, who placed himself under British protection. The territory known as Griqualand West was proclaimed on 27 October 1871. Colonial Commissioners arrived in New Rush on 17 November 1871 to exercise authority over the territory on behalf of the Cape Governor. Digger objections and minor riots led to Governor Barkly's visit to New Rush in September the following year, when he revealed a plan instead to have Griqualand West proclaimed a Crown Colony. Richard Southey would arrive as Lieutenant-Governor of the intended Crown Colony in January 1873. Months passed however without any sign of the proclamation or of the promised new constitution and provision for representative government; the delay was in London where Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Kimberley, insisted that before electoral divisions could be defined, the places had to receive "decent and intelligible names. His Lordship declined to be in any way connected with such a vulgarism as New Rush and as for the Dutch name, Vooruitzigt … he could neither spell nor pronounce it."
The matter was passed to Southey who gave it to his Colonial Secretary J. B. Currey. Roberts writes, he made quite sure that Lord Kimberley would be able both to spell and pronounce the name of the main electoral division by, as he says, calling it'after His Lordship'." New Rush became Kimberley, by Proclamation dated 5 July 1873. Digger sentiment was expressed in an editorial in the Diamond Field newspaper when it stated "we went to sleep in New Rush and waked up in Kimberley, so our dream was gone."Following agreement by the British government on compensation to the Orange Free State for its competing land claims, Griqualand West was annexed to the Cape Colony in 1877. The Cape Prime Minister John Molteno had serious doubts about annexing the indebted region, after striking a deal with the Home Government and receiving assurances that the local population would be consulted in the process, he passed the Griqualand West Annexation Act on 27 July 1877; as miners arrived in their thousands the hill disappeared and subsequently became known as the Big Hole or, more formally, Kimberley Mine.
From mid-July 1871 to 1914, 50,000 miners dug the hole with picks and shovels, yielding 2,722 kg of diamonds. The Big Hole is 463 metres wide, it was excavated to a depth of 240 m, but partially infilled with debris reducing its depth to about 215 m. Beneath the surface, the Kimberley Mine underneath the Big Hole was mined to a depth of 1097 metres. A popular local myth claims that it is the largest hand-dug hole on the world, however Jagersfontein Mine appears to hold that record; the Big Hole is the principal feature of a May 2004 submission which placed "Kimberley Mines and associated early industries" on UNESCO's World Heritage Tentative Lists. By 1873 Kimberley was the second largest town in South Africa, having an approximate population of 40,000; the various smaller mining companies were amalgamated by Cecil Rhodes and Charles Rudd into De Beers, The Kimberley under Barney Barnato. In 1888, the two companies merged to form De Beers Consolidated Mines, which once had a monopoly over the world's diamond market.
Kimberley became the largest city in the area due to a massive African migration to the area from all over t
Jagersfontein Mine is an abandoned open-pit mine in South Africa located close to the town of Jagersfontein and about 110 kilometres south-west of Bloemfontein. Since it was first established in 1870, two of the ten biggest diamonds discovered, the Excelsior and the Reitz, were mined from Jagersfontein; the term "Jagers" has since been coined to denote the distinctive faint bluish tint of the gems from this mine. Among geologists, Jagersfontein is known as a kimberlite pipe, a prime locality for mantle xenoliths, some of which are believed to have come from depths of 300–500 km. About 9.6 million carats of jewel-quality diamonds were extracted during the mine's century of operation, interrupted only by the two World Wars and the Great Depression. After thirty-nine years of open-pit mining, underground mining began in 1909, continued until its eventual closure on May 28, 1971, less than a year after the centenary of the first diamond discovery in the area. Since an Open Mine Museum and the Jagers Mining Village have opened as tourist attractions at the site.
Research by historian Steve Lunderstedt in 2005 confirmed that the mine was the biggest hand-excavated hole in the world at 19.65 hectares larger than the Big Hole of 17 ha in Kimberley, which had claimed the title up to then. It is not the deepest, since the final depth of the Big Hole reached 220 m or more. Jagersfontein was dug by hand to a depth of 200 m by 1911; the mine area is closed to the public. Several miners strikes or ‘riots’ occurred between 1913 and 1914 in mines Koffiefontein, Randfontein, Premier mines and Jagersfontein mines. Deaths due to shootings in Premier mines and well as Jagersfontein mines led to higher publicity than other miners strikes which occurred during that time; the majority of the miners who worked at these mines were Basotho people who lived in Basotholand. During their time working in the mines, they lived in hostels which had strict rules for black people which included the necessity for the possession of a pass book. Issues that affected Sotho people and precipitated riots included The Great Depression, a drought over South Africa, severe over Basotholand as well as the first request that the British territories be handed over to the South African Union.
The most distressing of these issues was the drought as it, compounded with the economic depression, put much pressure on migrant workers to return money back home to Basotholand. The ratio of women to men in Jagersfontein was 16:1, abnormal for a Free State town and as such a larger proportion of women participated in protests in Jagersfontein compared to others of its time. Nonetheless, authorities in Jagersfontein took drastic action on the women involved in the strikes including an event in March 1913 where police officials sealed off the bantu location, searched each house and demanded pass books at gun-point. 61 women were arrested, of which 50% were coloured. Many Basotho people fled back to Basotholand for refuge after the shootings and brutality during the riots. In 1914 the mining riots resulted in the deaths of 11 Basotho people. For Google Maps Aerial view of Jagersfontein Mine, click here. Http://karoospace.co.za/historic-jagersfontein-free-state/