Diamonds: (illustrated Edition)

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Series Title: Harper's library of living thought

The following pages are based on personal observations during two visits to Kimberley, in 1896 and 1905, and on personal researches on the formation and artificial production of diamonds. In 1896 I spent nearly a month at Kimberley, when Mr. Gardner F. Williams, the General Manager of the De Beers Consolidated Mines, and the managers of neighbouring mines, did their utmost to aid in my zealous quest for reliable information. They gave me free access to all workings above and below ground, allowed me to examine at leisure their stock and to take extracts from their books. I had exceptional opportunities of studying the geology of the Diamond and of noting the strange cataclysmal facts connected with the birth, growth, and physics of the lustrous stones.

In the present volume I have tried to give some idea of the underground wonders of the Kimberley mines. I have pictured the strenuous toil of the men who bring to the surface the buried treasures, and I have given some idea of the skill and ingenuity with which their labours are controlled. I have done my best to explain the fiery origin of the Diamond, and to describe the glowing, molten, subterranean furnaces where they first begin mysteriously to take shape. I have shown that a diamond is the outcome of a series of Titanic earth convulsions, and that these precious gems undergo cycles of fiery, strange, and potent vicissitudes before they can blaze on a ring or a tiara.


Preface -- Preliminary -- Kimberley and its diamond mines -- Kimberley mines at the present day -- Collecting the gems -- The diamond office -- Noteworthy diamonds -- Boart, carbonado, and graphite -- Physical and chemical properties of the diamond -- Genesis of the diamond -- The natural formation of the diamond -- Meteoric diamonds.