Historical Reading: The Diamond Fields of South Africa: Part 1 (1868-1893)

Dr. James Shigley
An early black and white photo that shows deep trenches dug into the ground in the search for diamonds. Ladders and ropes help the miners excavate and traverse the mine.
A view of the Kimberley Diamond Mine in South Africa, taken from a booklet entitled, “A Short Sketch of the African Diamond Mines,” published in 1881 by Alfred H. Smith & Company in New York.

The classical Roman scholar Pliny wrote: “Maximum in rebus humanis, non solum inter gemmas, pretium habet adamas” (Among all human things, not only among gems, the diamond is the most precious).

The discovery of diamonds in South Africa occurred in early 1867 on the land of a poor Boer farmer, Daniel Jacobs, near the small isolated settlement of Hopetown on the Orange River in the Cape of Good Hope Colony. This region of South Africa, near the junction of the Orange and Vaal rivers, was one of several destinations for thousands of European settlers (mainly Dutch and English) who traveled from the coast toward the interior of the country to farm and raise livestock. No one thought the region might contain diamonds, or thought to search for any precious stones. Brazil had been the principal source of diamonds for at least 150 years.

Jacob’s son Erasmus collected pretty stones, including a shiny pebble, along the south bank of the Orange River that he and other children used in games. His mother noticed it and showed it to a neighboring farmer, Schalk van Niekerk, who was so intrigued by its appearance that he offered to buy it. The woman laughed at this idea and gave the pebble to him.

The farmer thought it might have some value and showed it to several individuals in Hopetown and nearby Colesberg, but found little interest. The civil commissioner in Colesberg, Lorenzo Boyes, examined the pebble and discovered that it could scratch glass. He then sent it to Dr. W.G. Atherstone, a physician and amateur geologist residing at Grahamstown who, based on its physical properties, pronounced it a diamond weighing 21.25 carats.

It was purchased for £500 by Sir Phillip Wodehouse, the governor of the Cape Colony, who was able to confirm its identity. This news was viewed with some skepticism, however. Most people at that time had never seen a diamond and only knew of them from books. They debated how and why diamonds occurred in South Africa.

This surprise discovery prompted Boer farmers along the rivers to look more carefully for “blink klippe” (bright stones). As news of the initial diamond discovery spread, small parties of prospectors rushed into the region to search for similar gems. Over the following months, additional diamonds continued to be found, and by 1869 these river diggings had yielded hundreds of diamonds (including the discovery of the 83.5 carat diamond known as the “Star of the South” at Sandfontein). Those involved in the search recognized that the presence of garnets was often a very good indicator of the proximity of alluvial diamonds. Much of the scientific effort during this time was directed toward finding the host rock in which the diamonds originally formed.

In 1870 diamonds were being found in some abundance on the Bultfontein farm (20 miles southeast of the river diggings) in what came to be called the “dry diggings” (later recognized as diamonds occurring in the upper weathered and decomposed sections of a volcanic pipe). These events started a rush of thousands of people (of all backgrounds and from a number of countries) to lay claim to sections of land to explore for diamonds over a large area of the Cape Colony, and within two decades, many rich deposits were found that would later become the famous diamond mines of South Africa.

How to Use this Reading List

This reading list was compiled to give you an opportunity to learn more about the history of Baltic amber. A number of the articles were published in the 1800s and early 1900s – when many classical gem deposits of historical importance were discovered and gemology and mineralogy became sciences. The list is presented in chronological order to emphasize the development of ideas over time. The list is not comprehensive, but a compilation of some interesting gemological information that has often been forgotten or overlooked.

Many of the articles exist in the public domain and can be found online at digital libraries such as Hathitrust, Internet Archive, or other digital repositories. More recent publications can often be found in libraries, including the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library. Abstracts of these articles can usually be found on the website of the original journal or magazine, and the article itself is often available for purchase from the publisher.

Regarding the GIA library’s holdings and on-site access, please contact the GIA library in Carlsbad.

On the Discovery of Diamonds at Hope Town in the Cape Colony, J. Tennant, Proceedings of the Royal Geographic Society, Vol. 12, No. 5, pp. 322-323, (1868). A report of the initial discovery, along with notes on several diamonds found during the previous year, some of which were already among the jewelry firms in London, and others being shown in the summer and fall of 1867 at an international exhibition in Paris.

Diamonds at the Cape Colony, H. Emanuel, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 16, No. 83, pp. 849-850, (1868). A letter from a noted diamond merchant in London who, after learning of the reports of the diamond discovery, commissioned a friend with geological experience (James R. Gregory) to visit the region in South Africa to determine the truthfulness of the reports. After an extensive tour of the area, Gregory apparently could find no geological or mineralogical evidence for the occurrence of diamonds.

Diamonds from the Cape of Good Hope, J.R. Gregory, Geological Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 54, pp. 558-561, (1868). After visiting several districts in South Africa, the author reported that he “saw no indications whatever that would warrant the expectation of the finding of diamonds, or of diamond-bearing deposits, at any of the localities.”

Diamonds at the Cape Colony, W.B. Chalmers, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 17, No. 747, pp. 199-200, (1869). A letter from the Civil Commissioner in Hopetown describes 17 rough diamonds, including information on their shape and size, where they were found, along with their disposition and purchase price, based on personal information from trusted individuals.

Diamonds at the Cape, E. Muskett, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 17, No. 855, p. 379, (1869). A letter from a medical doctor in Hopetown, affirming the occurrence of diamonds in the area and disputing James R. Gregory’s (see second and third entries above) conclusions about the absence of diamonds, which he felt were based on an insufficient effort to obtain a complete story about the recent discovery.

Diamonds, A. Wilmont, South African Magazine, Vol. 3, pp. 570-586, (1869). Besides giving general information on diamonds, the author recounts the story of their discovery in South Africa.

Diamonds at the Cape, H. Emanuel, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 17, No. 861, p. 517, (1869). According to the author, “I am very anxious to state that there no longer exists any doubt in my mind as to the Cape Colony being a ‘diamond-producing country.’ That diamonds should have been found there under such novel conditions, occurring in a soil which differs considerably from that of all previously known diamond-producing districts, is no doubt startling; but it would be utterly unreasonable to set up geological precedents against patent facts [such as finding large diamonds], the well-authenticated existence of which destroys all suspicion of trickery or imposition.”

The Discovery of Diamonds at the Cape of Good Hope, W.G. Atherstone, Geological Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 59, pp. 208-213, (1869). The author disputes the conclusions of James R. Gregory (see second and third entries above), and the latter’s declaration that “the whole story of the Cape diamond discovery [was] ‘false’, ‘an imposture’, [and] a ‘bubble scheme’ got up to promote the expenditure of capital in searching for this precious substance in the colony; and stating that, from the geological character of the district which he had lately very carefully and thoroughly examined, that it was impossible that diamonds had been or could ever be found there.” The author summarizes the evidence for the occurrence of diamonds.

Discovery of Diamonds, etc., at the Cape, J.R. Gregory, Geological Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 61, pp. 333-334, (1869). A response to the letter from W.G. Atherstone (see entry above) on the occurrence of diamonds in South Africa.

Diamonds and Gold at the Cape, G.S. Higson, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 18, No. 923, pp. 759-760, (1870). A report by a visitor to the dry diggings near Du Toit’s Pan and nearby areas that describes the methods to sieve the soil to recover the diamonds. The author notes that it was being undertaken “with a fair modicum of success.”

On the Geology of the Diamondiferous Tracts of South Africa, J. Shaw, Cape Monthly Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 129-133, No. 4, pp. 249-253, and No. 5, pp. 368-372, (1870). The author presents a number of observations on the alluvial diamond deposits in the Vaal River basin. A summary of this information appeared in the South African Magazine, Vol. 3, pp. 785-787, (1869), and in Nature, Vol. 3, No. 53, pp. 2-3, (1870).

Diamonds at the Cape of Good Hope, Author unknown, Mechanic’s Magazine, Vol. 93, (Oct. 14), p. 271, (1870). A brief discussion of the discovery of diamonds in South Africa and some practical means of distinguishing them from quartz or paste glass.

The Diamond-Fields of South Africa, H. Hall, English Mechanic and World of Science, Vol. 12, No. 291, pp. 99-100, (1870). The geographical setting of the diamond fields is briefly summarized by the author.

“The South African Diamond Fields,” Author unknown, Edward Stafford, London, 46 pp., (1870). This booklet contains extracts of letters about the diamond fields published in South African newspapers.

South African Diamonds, J. Tennant, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 19, No. 940, pp. 15-18, (1870). A report on a public lecture on the discovery and occurrence of diamonds in South Africa.  A summary of the lecture can be found in Mechanic’s Magazine, Vol. 93, (Dec. 9), p. 421, (1870), the English Mechanic and World of Science, Vol. 12, No. 299, pp. 296-297, (1870), and Hardwicke’s Science Gossip, Vol. 7, No. 73, pp. 11-12, (1871).

In Quest of Diamonds, Author unknown, Littell’s Living Age, Vol. 109, No. 1407, pp. 490-498, (1871). A description of the 500-mile wagon journey from Durban on the South African coast to the inland diamond fields along the Vaal River. The same article appears in the Cornhill Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 136, pp. 457-467, (1871).

Across the Karoo to the Diamond-Fields, Author unknown, Cape Monthly Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 10, pp. 222-231, (1871). The author recounts his experiences traveling across the arid Karoo region to the diamond fields.

South African Diamonds, Author unknown, Progress in Chemistry, (January), pp. 130-131, (1871). “When the discovery of diamonds in South Africa was first announced … some three or four years ago, there was a tendency among many men of science to indulge in a little incredulity as to the genuineness of the reputed discovery. But whatever may have been the doubts which were conscientiously entertained at the time, they have assuredly been long since dispelled by the glowing accounts which have reached us – substantiated as those accounts have been by the arrival of larger consignments of the veritable gems … during the past quarter.” The author reports that diamonds are found on the summits or the slopes of little kopjies, or hillocks, where they are sparsely disseminated amid detrital accumulations. “We understand that many practical men at the diggings believe that the distribution of the diamonds bears some relation to the occurrence of certain trap rocks in the district, and even suspected that in or near such rocks they may find the original matrix of the gem.”

Among the Diamonds, by One Who has Visited the Fields, Author unknown, Cape Monthly Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 8, pp. 112-127, (1871). The famous Roman-era naturalist, Pliny, remarked in ancient times: “Africa is always producing something new” (Africa semper aliquid novi parti). The author states that this remark was never more appropriate than with the “startling reality” during the past year of the discovery of diamonds in the great basin of the Orange and Vaal Rivers on the border of the Cape Colony. The author presents a detailed report of a visit he made to the so-called “diamond fields.”

On the Diamondiferous Regions of South Africa, J. Shaw, Cape Monthly Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 12, pp. 358-364, (1871). The author presents preliminary geological observations on the occurrence of diamonds in sediments in the Vaal River basin.

K. Mauch’s Wasserfahrt von Potchefstroom nach den Diamantenfeldern am Vaal-Fluss (Dezember 1870 – January 1871) [K. Mauch’s Water Trip from Potchefstroom to the Diamond Fields on the Vaal-River (December 1870 – January 1871)], K. Mauch, Petermann’s Geographische Mittheilungen, Vol. 17, pp. 254-257, (1871). The author summarizes a month-long trip by river to the diamond fields.

The African Diamond-Fields, Author unknown, Every Saturday Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 64, p. 251, (1871). A brief description is presented of the diamond fields.

South-African Diamond-Mines, Author unknown, Appleton’s Journal, Vol. 5, No. 115, pp. 672-675, (1871). An early description of traveling to the diamond fields and the means used to get there to recover diamonds.

The South African Diamond-Fields, Author unknown, The Year-Book of Facts in Science and Art, pp. 202-204, (1871). The author quotes Reverend Dr. Williams of Graham’s Town who, in a letter to the London Times newspaper, stated the following about the diamond fields: “The [diamond] mine as yet, if there be any, is not in the least degree traceable. All that is certain is that there the precious gems are – on the surface and close to the surface, spread over an area of hundreds of square miles that were uninhabited and unnoticed until within two months previously…”

South African Diamond Fields, Author unknown, The African Repository, Vol. 47, (December), pp. 367-368, (1871). A brief report on the conditions in the diamond fields.

On the Diamond Fields of South Africa, T.R. Jones, Geological Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 80, pp. 49-60, (1871). The author summarizes observations a number of individuals were making on the geologic occurrence of diamonds. Since at first it was unclear where the alluvial diamonds were coming from, some of these observations proved valuable; others were later found to be incorrect.

South Africa and its Diamonds, T.R. Jones, Popular Science Review, Vol. 10, pp. 169-176, (1871). The author reviews the diamond occurrences in the Vaal River basin and provides observations on the geologic conditions in which they are found.

Geognostische Skizzen von den Süd-Afrikanischen Diamanten-Distrikten [Geognostic Sketches of the South African Diamond District], A. Hübner, Petermann’s Geographische Mittheilungen, Vol. 17, pp. 81-87 and 210-215, (1871). The author presents a geologic description of the diamond district.

The Diamond Diggings, Author unknown, Saturday Review, Vol. 31, No. 793, pp. 16-17, (1871). A short description of the dry diggings around a place known as Klipdrift.

From Pniel to Hebron, and What May Come from the Diamond-Fields, Author unknown, Cape Monthly Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 11, pp. 310-316, (1871). A record of the author’s travels through the diamond fields and a discussion of what their discovery might mean for the development of the country.

The Diamond Fields of South Africa, Author Unknown, London Society, Vol. 21, pp. 365-368, (1871). The author draws comparisons between the discovery of the diamond fields to the California and Australian gold rushes of the 1840s and 1850s.

Thirty Days at the Diamond Fields, Author unknown, All the Year Round, Vol. 25, No. 130, pp. 617-620, (1871). The author describes a month’s period along the banks of the Vaal River in search of diamonds.

The South African Diamond Mines, Author unknown, Chambers’s Journal, Vol. 48, No. 374, pp. 117-120, (1871). The early history of the diamond mines and some of the individuals involved with that history.

On the Diamond-Districts of the Cape of Good Hope, G. Gilfillan, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 72-73, (1871).  The author presents observations from on a visit in June 1870.

The Diamond Fields of South Africa, Author unknown, London Society, Vol. 21, No. 124, pp. 365-368, (1872). The author discusses some of the effects of the discovery of rich diamond deposits in the country.

Les Nouvelle Mines de Diamants [The New Diamond Mines], Author unknown, Magasin Pittoresque, Vol. 40, No. 23, pp. 183-184, (1872). A brief description of the diamond fields.

At the Diamond Fields by One Who has been There, Author unknown, Cassell’s Magazine, Vol. 5, pp. 15-16 and 30-32, (1872).  The author describes traveling to and working at the diamond fields.

African Diamonds – An Invention Wanted, Author unknown, Scientific American, Vol. 26, No. 15, p. 231, (1872). A brief mention of the need for a mechanical invention to help crush the weathered rock to more easily separate the diamonds.

On the Diamond-Gravels of the Vaal River, South Africa, G.W. Stow, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, Vol. 28, No. 1/2, pp. 3-21, (1872). The author describes the geological occurrence of alluvial diamonds along the Vaal River.

On the Geology of the Diamond-Fields of South Africa, J. Shaw, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, Vol. 28, No. 1/2, pp. 21-27, (1872). Observations of the geologic setting of the alluvial diamond deposits.

Notes from a Diamond Tour through South Africa, T.W. Tobin, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 20, No. 1009, pp. 351-355, (1872). The author describes his experiences on an 1870 tour of the diamond fields with Edwin Streeter, the famous London jeweler.

Digging for Diamonds, Author unknown, The Spectator, No. 2289, pp. 591-592, (1872). A review of a book by Charles Payton that offers practical advice for individuals thinking of traveling to the South Africa diamond fields. By this time, thousands of individuals were searching for diamonds. A review of the same book appeared in The Mining Magazine and Review, Vol. 1, pp. 372-375, (1872).

The End of the Cape Diamonds, Author unknown, Once a Week, No. 243, pp. 172-174, (1872). Based on personal experience in the diamond fields, the author advises potential immigrants to stay away because of the diminishing productivity of the alluvial and weathered surface deposits.

“Diamond Fields of South Africa,” Author unknown, American News Company, New York, 238 pp., (1872). The author recounts his travels to and from the diamond fields.

“The Diamond Diggings of South Africa,” C.A. Payton, Horace Cox, London, 240 pp., (1872). This book provides a description of the diamond diggings.  A summary of it appeared in The Mining Magazine and Review, Vol. 1, pp. 372-375. (1872).

Du Toits Pan, and Klipdrift, Griqualand-West, E. Cohen, Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Palaeontologie, pp. 857-861, (1872) and pp. 150-155, (1873). The author describes the mining of diamonds at Du Toits Pan and at Klipdrift.

Life in the Diamond Fields, A.E. Coleman, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 46, No. 273, pp. 321-336, (1873). A description of the 450-mile journey from the nearest coast to the diamond fields (650 miles from Cape Town), and the author’s attempt to work a claim.

“Adamantia – The Truth about the South African Diamond Fields,” A.F. Lindley, W.H. & L. Collingridge, London, 423 pp. (1873). The author discusses the takeover of Boer territory in South Africa by the British.

Les Mines de Diamante d’Afrique [The Diamond Mines of Africa], M. Desdemaines-Hugon, La Revue Scientifique, Series 2, Vol. 3, No. 21, pp. 493-497, (1873). A summary of diamond mining.

Diamond-Digging at Pniel, Author unknown, Chambers’s Journal, Vol. 50, No. 500, pp. 468-470, (1873). The author’s account of his 10-day trip from Cape Town to Pniel, which he terms was the “eldest” of the diamond diggings, and his work as a miner.

“To the Cape for Diamonds,” F. Boyle, Chapman and Hall, London, 415 pp. (1873). A book about the experiences of an individual who traveled to and worked in the diamond fields.

Life in the New Diamond Diggings, R.W. Miller, Scribner’s Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 5, pp. 529-538, (1873).  A description of normal life in the diamond fields. Includes an description of diamond mining methods being used.

On A Visit to the Diamond Fields of South Africa, with Notices of Geological Phenomena by the Wayside, J. Paterson, Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 70-80, (1873). The author’s observations of various geological characteristics of the countryside from Port Elizabeth to the diamond fields.

The Diamond Mines of Africa, Author unknown, Science Record, pp. 535-542, (1874). This article presents a description of the methods used to mine the dry alluvial diamond diggings.

Remarks on the Geographical and Physical Character of the Diamond Fields of South Africa, T. Shepstone, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 22, No. 1113, pp. 390-392, (1874). A discussion of the geography of the diamondiferous country in the Vaal River basin.

Supplementary Remarks on the Commercial Aspects and Influences of the South African Diamond and Gold Fields, R.J. Mann, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 22, No. 1113, pp. 392-397, (1874). After reviewing the gold and diamond deposits, the author discusses the economic impact mining was having on South Africa.

Les Mines de Diamans du Cap [The Diamond Mines of the Cape], M. Desdemaines-Hugon, Revue des Deux Mondes, Vol. 44, Pt. 3, pp. 569-600, (1874). A detailed description of the alluvial deposits in the diamond fields.

On the Mode of Occurrence of Diamonds in South Africa, E.J. Dunn, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of South Africa, Vol. 30, No. 1/2, pp. 54-60, (1874). Diamond recovery is being made from the rocks that brought them to the land’s surface. The igneous rocks occur in circular, pipe-like bodies emplaced in sedimentary shales.

On the Character of the Diamontiferous Rock of South Africa, N. Story-Maskelyne and W. Flight, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, Vol. 30, No. 1/2, pp. 406-416, (1874).  Observations on the diamond-bearing rocks recovered at several of the deposits.

“The South African Diamond Fields,” A.H. Hornsby, Inter-Ocean Steam Book and Job Print, Chicago, 78 pp., (1874). The author recounts his experiences traveling and working in the diamond fields.

Notes on Diamonds from the Cape of Good Hope, J. Tennant, Geological Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 11, pp. 545-547, (1875). The author comments on some of the first South African diamonds being brought to the United Kingdom, including the statement that they are of a “number and quality [..] equal to those from the Brasils, which have chiefly supplied Europe during the last eighty years.” He also mentions the revival of diamond-cutting taking place in London.

The Diamond-Mines of the Cape, Author unknown, Appleton’s Journal, Vol. 13, No. 304, pp. 78-79, (1875). A short description of the travel routes from the coast to the diamond fields, and of the character of the countryside.

Notes on the Diamonds from the Cape of Good Hope, J. Tennant, Geological Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 11, pp. 545-547, (1875). The author provides a general description of the nature of the diamonds found recently in South Africa.

The Diamond Fields of Griqualand, and their Probable Influence on the Native Races of South Africa, J.B. Currey, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 24, No. 1217, pp. 372-381, (1876). The article reviews the history of discovery and the extent of the diamond fields, the methods used to recover the diamonds, and the possible economic benefits that could be used to improve the lives of the native races.

Further Notes on the Diamond-Fields of South Africa…, E.J. Dunn, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, Vol. 33, No. 1/2, pp. 879-883, (1877). Based on a visit, the author describes some geologic features of the kimberlite pipes at the De Beer’s mine.

“South African Diamond Fields and the Journey to the Mines,” W.J. Morton, American Geophysical Society, 32 pp., (1877). The author describes his travel to South Africa and life in the diamond fields in an address given to the American Geophysical Society.

To South Africa for Diamonds!, W.J. Morton, Scribner’s Monthly, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 551-563 and No. 5, pp. 662-675, (1878). The author describes a journey from America to England, to Cape Town in South Africa, and then by stagecoach and mule-or ox-team the 800 miles inland from the coast to reach the diamond fields (in all, a distance of more than 10,000 miles). He describes the diamond mines, the nearby settlements and the methods used to recover the diamonds.

Composition et Origine du Sable Diamantifère de Du Toit’s Pan (Afrique Australe) [On the Composition and Origin of the Diamondiferous Sands at Du Toit’s Pan, South Africa], S. Meunier, Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances de L’Académie des Sciences, Vol. 84, No. 6, pp. 250-252, (1877). The author discusses the diamond-bearing sediments in one of the alluvial diamond areas.

Les Mines de Diamants de l’Afrique Australe [The Diamond Mines of Southern Africa], H. Blerzy, La Nature, Vol. 6, No. 240, pp. 81-83, (1878). A brief report on the diamond mines.

Voyage aux Mines de Diamants dans le Sud de l’Afrique [Voyage to the Diamond Mines of South Africa], Author unknown, Le Tour du Monde, Vol. 36, No. 931, pp. 289-304, No. 932, pp. 305-320, No. 933, pp. 321-335, (1878). A female traveler’s record of a visit to the diamond fields in 1872.

Diamonds, F.M. Endlich, American Naturalist, Vol. 12, No. 7, pp. 419-430, (1878). General information on diamonds, including their sources, ideas on their causes of color and famous gemstones.

Die Diamantfelder Süd-Afrika’s [The South African Diamond Fields], E. Lippert, Mitteilungen der Geographischen Gesellschaft in Hamburg, Vol. 2, pp. 327-340, (1878). A review of diamond mining for the decade of 1868 to 1878.

Sur les Mines de Diamant de l’Afrique Australe [About the Diamond Mines of Southern Africa], M. Chaper, Bulletin de la Société Minéralogique de France, Vol. 2, No. 7, pp. 195-197, (1879). A short description of the diamond mines.

The South-African Diamond Fields, Author unknown, Chambers’s Journal, Vol. 57, No. 870, pp. 551-553, (1880). A short summary of life in the diamond fields.

On a Crystal of Diamond, H. Baker, Journal of the Chemical Society, Vol. 37, pp. 579-581, (1880). An unusual twinned diamond − eight crystals intergrown in a parallel arrangement − is described.

Les Mines de Diamants de l’Afrique Australe [The Diamond Mines of Southern Africa], J.A. Roorda-Smit, Archives Néerlandaises des Sciences Exactes et Naturelles, Vol. 15, pp. 61-74, (1880). The geological setting of the diamond diggings is presented.

Journey through Central South Africa, from the Diamond Fields to the Upper Zambesi, E. Holub, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Vol. 2, pp. 166-182, (1880). An account of an individual who visited the diamond fields in 1872.

Les Mines de Diamant de l’Afrique Australe [The Diamond Mines of Southern Africa], G. Tissandier, La Nature, Vol. 9, No. 410, pp. 295-298, (1881). A brief summary of the diamond mines near Kimberley.

Diamond Fields of South Africa, E.W. Murray, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 29, No. 1478, pp. 370-384, (1881). The author describes the development of diamond mining along the Vaal and Orange rivers.

The Diamond Mines of South Africa, E.B. Biggar, Lippincott’s Magazine, Vol. 29, No. 159, pp. 217-231, (1881). A description of life in the diamond fields.

Notes on the Diamond Fields, South Africa, E.J. Dunn, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, Vol. 37, No. 1/4, pp. 609-612, (1881). Observations  on the setting of the diamond deposits near Kimberley.

Ueber die Südafrikanischen Diamantfelder [About the South African Diamond Fields], E. Cohen, Vierter Jahresbericht des Vereins für Erdkunde zu Metz, No. 6, pp. 129-165, (1882). A detailed description of the diamond fields.

On the Diamond Fields and Mines of Kimberley, South Africa, J.N. Paxman, Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Vol. 74, pp. 59-90, (1883). A detailed description of a presentation on the mines around Kimberley and of the mining methods in use at the time. A summary of the presentation appeared in the Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. 35, No. 26, p. 882, (1883).

Les Mines de Diamants du Cap [The Diamond Mines of the Cape], F. Boxhorn, La Nature, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 311-315, (1883). The author describes the diamond mining operations near Kimberley.

On a Recent Hypothesis with Respect to the Diamond Rock of South Africa, W.H. Huddleston, Mineralogical Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 25, pp. 199-210, (1883). The author discusses some of the varied geological observations on the diamond host rock and what those observations might imply for the rock’s formation.

A Recent Visit to the Boers, R. Loyd-Lindsay, Littell’s Living Age, Vol. 160, No. 2066, pp. 212-222, (1884). This article describes the voyage from England to South Africa (three weeks by boat), and then the journey inland to the diamond fields. By this time, the surface dry diggings had been mostly exploited, and mining was reaching down to unweathered kimberlite. This harder rock was hoisted to the surface in buckets and spread out on the surface for several months to break down. Washing this decomposed rock reduced it into mud, which could then be processed to recover the diamonds without damaging them. The author describes the principal diamond mines and the nearby settlements.

The South Africa Diamond Fields, Author unknown, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. 49, No. 21, p. 322, (1884). This brief report gives some statistics about the mining operations. It states that in 1883, 350,000 loads of kimberlite ore (each load representing 16 cubic feet) were removed from the Kimberley mine and yielded 947,787 carats of diamonds.

“L’Etoile du Sud – Le Pays des Diamants” [The Star of the South – The Diamond Deposits], J. Verne, Collection Hetzel, Paris, (1884). A fictional story by the famous novelist about the diamond fields and a famous diamond.

Notes on the Great Kimberley Diamond Mine, W.P. Marshall, Midland Naturalist, Vol. 7, pp. 93-98, (1884). The author describes the diamond mines near Kimberley.

The Diamond Fields of South Africa, G.E. Smith, Transactions of the Mining Institute of Scotland, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, pp. 48-57, (1884), and A Mining Tour through South Africa, (same journal and author), Vol. 9, pp. 17-36, (1887).  The author describes the diamond fields in these two articles.

The True Story of the Finding of the First Cape Diamond, Author unknown, Leisure Hour, Vol. 34, pp. 686-687, (1885). A short story about how Schalk van Niekerk purchased what later proved to be a diamond from the Jacobs family. The article states that when he sold it for £500, he gave half to the family as a reward.

The Origin and Home of the Diamond, W.J. Harrison, Knowledge Magazine, Vol. 7, (May 8), pp. 390-391, (May 22), pp. 438-439, and (June 5), p. 478, (1885). By the early 1880s, there were six principal mines in the dry diggings – Du Toit’s Pan, De Beers, Bultfontein, Kimberley, Koffiefontein and Jagersfontein – all in an area south of the Vaal River. Exploitation of these mines revealed that the diamond-bearing kimberlite rock occurred in vertical pipes that were thought to represent magma channels below volcanic craters removed by erosion. The author reviews several theories of the origin of these igneous rock pipes.

Mémoire su la Géologie Générale et sur les Mines de Diamants de l’Afrique du Sud [Memoir on the General Geology and the Diamond Mines of South Africa], A. Moulle, Annales des Mines, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 193-342, (1885). The author presents a detailed description of the geology and diamond mines in South Africa.

On the Diamond Rocks of South Africa, H.E. Roscoe, Proceedings of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, Vol. 24, pp. 5-10, (1885). Some analytical data are presented on the composition of the diamond-bearing kimberlite rocks.

Notes on the Diamond Rock of South Africa, W.H. Huddleston, Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, Vol. 8, pp. 63-81, (1885). The author discusses observations on the diamond host rock and ideas on its formation.

Diamond Mining at the Cape, T. Reunert, “Official Handbook – History, Productions and Resources of the Cape of Good Hope”, Cape Town, pp. 177-219, (1886). This chapter describes in detail the history, development and operation of the diamond mines.

Observations Complémentaires sur l’Origine des Sables Diamantiféres de l’Afrique Australe [Additional Observations on the Origin of the Diamond-bearing Sands of Southern Africa], S. Meunier, Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances de l’Academie des Sciences, Vol. 102, No. 11, pp. 637-640, (1886). The author discusses the origin of the diamond-bearing sediments.

African Diamond Mining, Author unknown, Scientific American Supplement, Vol. 22, No. 553, pp. 8833-8834, (1886). A brief report of the diamond mines.

The Diamond Mines of South Africa, G.F. Williams, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. 42, No. 20, pp. 345-347 and No. 21, pp. 363-366, (1886). The author describes operations at the major diamond mines in an address before the American Institute of Mining Engineers. The article was also published in the Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, Vol. 15, pp. 392-417, (1887).

The Diamond Fields of South Africa, G.J. Nathan, Longman’s Magazine, pp. 535-546, (1886). The author discusses the development of the diamond mines near Kimberley.

Diamonds and the Diamond Fields, P.M. Laurence, “The South African Exhibition, Port Elizabeth, 1885,” Chapter 13, pp. 255-283, (1886). The published record of a public lecture given by the author as part of this national exhibition.

The South-African Diamond Mines, Author unknown, Popular Science Monthly, Vol. 30, (February), pp. 459-473, (1887). The author reviews the historic sources of diamonds, than summarizes the history and mining operations in the diamond fields.

The Diamond Mines of South Africa, G.F. Williams, Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, Vol. 15, pp. 392-417, (1887). The author describes in detail the main diamond-mining operations near Kimberley.

Four Large South African Diamonds, G.F. Kunz, Science, Vol. 10, No. 235, pp. 69-70, (1887). Four large diamond crystals, including the one that yielded the 128.54-ct Tiffany Yellow diamond, are briefly described.

Diamond Mines, Author unknown, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. 54, No.26, p. 1 and Vol. 55, No. 1, p. 5, No. 2, p. 1, No. 3, p. 37, No. 4, p. 53, No. 5, p. 67, (1887). A brief description of the diamond mines.

South African Diamond Mines, Author unknown, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. 55, No. 13, p. 196, (1887). Gardner F. Williams, a mining engineer from the United States, departs for South Africa to become the general manager of the De Beers mine.

On the Origin of the Diamond-Mines of South-Africa, R. Marloth, Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, pp. 62-65, (1887). The author discusses ideas related to the formation of the diamond-bearing kimberlite pipes.

Diamond Digging in South Africa, J. Andrew, Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania for 1887, pp. 98-106, (1888). The importance of diamond mining to the economic development of the country is discussed by the author.

“Diamonds and Gold of South Africa”, H. Mitchell, F.C. Mathieson & Son, London, 131 pp., (1888). This book describes the principal diamond mines and provides information on their annual diamond production.

The Matrix of the Diamond, C. Lewis, Geological Magazine, Series 3, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 129-131, (1888). The author describes the igneous host rock of the diamond, and on the basis of its unique structure and composition, proposes it be given the name kimberlite. A short version of this article appeared in the Chemical News, Vol. 56, No. 1454, p. 153, (1887).

Diamond Mining, Author unknown, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. 57, No. 3, p. 40, (1888). A brief report of the operations of the De Beers mine in 1887 under the direction of G.F. Williams.

Les Mines de Diamants [The Diamond Mines], L. Beauval, La Science Illustrée, Vol. 4, No. 98, pp. 307-308, (1889). The author briefly describes the diamond mines and how diamonds from South Africa were being exhibited at international exhibitions in Europe.

Le Diamant dans l’Afrique Asutrale [The Diamonds of Southern Africa], G.A. Daubrée, Journal des Savants, (December), pp. 740-753, (1889). Based on information taken from several published books, this article presents a review of the diamond fields. A similar article by the same author was published in Cosmos, Vol. 15, No. 262, pp. 244-245, No. 263, pp. 271-273, and No. 264, pp. 299-300, (1890).

Diamond Mining, Author unknown, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. 54, No. 19, pp. 279, 287, (1889). A brief description with illustrations of the De Beers mine.

Kimberley and Its Diamonds, Author unknown, Illustrated American, Vol. 4, No. 37, pp. 283-287, (1890). The author describes a visit to the diamond mines.

Diamond-Digging in South Africa, H. Knollys, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 150, No. 911, pp. 317-333, (1891). This article describes the life of miners in the diamond fields near Kimberley. The same article appeared in Littell’s Living Age, Vol. 191, No. 2473, pp. 471-482, (1891).

The Diamond Mines of South Africa, V. Cornish, Knowledge Magazine, Vol. 14, (October 1), pp. 186-188, (1891). A short description of the diamond mines.

Diamond Mining in South Africa, G.D. Stonestreet, Engineering Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 5, pp. 579-591, (1891). A description of recovering diamonds near Kimberley.

The Discovery of the South African Diamond Mines, J. Thorburn, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. 52, No. 17, pp. 481-482, (1891).  A brief recounting of the story of the discovery of diamonds in 1867.

Die Diamant-Gruben von Kimberley in Süd-Afrika [The Diamond Mines of Kimberley in South Africa], B. Knochenhauer, Zeitschrift für das Berg-, Hütten- und Salinen-Wesen im Preussichen Staate, Vol. 39, pp. 261-282, (1891). The author describes the mines near Kimberley based on a visit to the area in 1889 and 1890.

Les Mines de Diamant de l’Afrique Australe [The Diamond Mines of Southern Africa], M. Chaper, Revue Scientifique, Vol. 49, No. 10, pp. 289-296, (1892). The author describes the diamond fields.

The Diamond Industry at Kimberley, R. Churchill, Popular Science Monthly, Vol. 41, (August), pp. 455-463, (1892). The author discusses the diamond mining operations at Kimberley.

The Kimberley Diamond Mines, W.H. Hazell, Hazell’s Magazine, Vol. 6, (September), pp. 255-257, (1892). The author describes Kimberley as the most prosperous town in South Africa because of the diamond industry − 25 years after diamonds are found.

Recherches Minéralogiques sur les Gisements Diamantifères de l’Afrique Australe [Mineralogical Research on the Diamond Deposits of South Africa], S. Meunier, Bulletin de la Société d’Histoire Naturelle d’Autun, Vol. 6, pp. 153-202, (1893). A study of the various igneous rocks found in the diamond mines.

The Story of the South African Diamond Mines, J. Reid, Good Works, Vol. 34, No. 43, pp. 613-620, (1893). The author describes the recovery of diamonds in the Kimberley region during the first two decades of mining activity.

Puzzles from a Diamond Mine, Author unknown, Chambers’s Journal, Vol. 10, No. 490, pp. 310-312, (1893). Interesting discoveries in kimberlite ore at the Premier and Kimberley mines include pieces of charred fossilized wood and broken pieces of diamond crystals, which were found widely separated and could be reassembled.

The Diamond Mines, T. Reunert, “Illustrated Official Handbook of the Cape and South Africa,” Chap. 15, pp. 323-356, (1893). The history and development of the first 25 years of the diamond fields.

“Diamonds and Gold in South Africa,” T. Reunert, J.C. Juta & Company, Capetown, 242 pp. (1893). This book describes mining techniques used in the country.

The Mining Industries of South Africa, as Shown at the Kimberley Exhibition, B.H. Brough, Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 41, No. 2096, pp. 166-178, (1893). An international exhibition held in the fall of 1892 in Kimberley contained a display of diamond mining. The article is a published account of a lecture about the exhibition that was given by the author in London.

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