In the mistaken belief that diamonds were scattered on the ground waiting to be picked up, the discovery of diamonds in 1870 caused an exodus to the Diamond Fields in search of their fortune. In many cases Port Elizabeth, being the nearest port, would be the starting point for many fortune hunters travelling north, by wagon or even on foot, covering the 420 miles to De Beers’ New Rush. Soon a dose of reality would set in and many would retrace their footsteps back to Port Elizabeth.
What is little known is that it was not a one way street. Enrepreneurs in Port Elizabeth grabbed the opportunity with both hands and organised the first South African diamond auctions in the town being yet another first for the town.
Main picture: Diamond mining at KimberleyContinue reading