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WORLDS LARGEST GEM STORE
It seems hard to believe that the initial discovery of Diamonds in South Africa was made in December 1866 by fifteen year old Erasmus Jacobs, who was out playing on his family’s farm, 550 miles north-east of Capetown. The discovery was the catalyst for the “Great South African Diamond Rush”, which turned a tiny little village known as Kimberley into a town of 50,000 people within a period of less than five years. Over the next ten years, South Africa became responsible for 95% of the world’s Diamond supply. What was once regarded as the rarest gem on the planet was suddenly more widely available.
Although Diamonds were first discovered in India some 3000 to 4000 years ago, more Diamonds have been extracted from South Africa in 20 years than the entire amount ever recovered from Indian deposits!
The knowledge gained in South Africa led gem hunters to realise that Diamonds were likely to be discovered wherever distinct volcanic pipes could be found, leading them to explore other countries for the gemstone. These volcanic pipes are now known worldwide as Kimberlite pipes, after the small village in South Africa.
For twenty years after the initial discovery, there was continual, fierce rivalry for the control of the mines. In 1888, two of the largest mining companies owned by a Mr Rhodes and a Mr Barnato joined together and formed the De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd, who remain the largest supplier of Diamonds in the world until this day.
Outside of Diamond mining, South Africa is one of the world’s largest producers of Tiger’s Eye. Other than these two gemstones, very little else is mined in commercial quantities, other than a handful of small mines producing a limited amount of Emerald and Amethyst.
As well as Diamonds, South Africa is also a huge producer of Tigers Eye.
GIA qualified Gemmologists
Members of the British Jewellery Association
Members of the Coloured Gemstone Assocation