The Big Hole
In 1871, a gigantic diamond of 83.5 carats was discovered in South Africa at DeBeer’s farm. This was the start of the world's first ‘diamond fever’ and the beginning of the Kimberley mine.The Big Hole in South Africa
During the first 40 years of the Kimberley mine, 50,000 miners worked with picks and shovels to penetrate deep into the earth’s interior, creating what has since been known as ‘The Big Hole’ – an excavation measuring 240 metres deep and 463 metres wide. The excavation continued to a depth of 1,097 metres. Fortunately, the work bore fruit. In the period from 1871 to 1914, 2,772 kg of diamonds were excavated, equivalent to 14 million carats.
The Cullinan Diamond becomes the Star of Africa
In 1905, a miner found a 3,106.75 ct diamond. It was named after the mine’s director, Sir Thomas Cullinan, and is the largest rough diamond that has ever been found.
Legend has it that Cullinan had a copy of the diamond made in glass and sent it by ship to London as a diversion. The real diamond was sent by post!