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Antique stones and diamond industry practices of the times

cookiebuttermonster

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Messages
94
Hi folks! I've made my way over from my thread on the Hangout. :)

So I'm about to dive into a search for an upgrade/anniversary diamond. I'd like to consider antique stones in addition to AVCs/CACs, but find myself facing a "mind-clean" issue concerning the diamond industry of the 1800's/early 1900's when these stones were mined. Nowadays we have strict regulations making the industry pretty clean, but back then?

Does anyone know anything about this topic, or can point me to a good resource that gives a basic run-down on what went on in those days?
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,084
Re: Antique stones and diamond industry practices of the tim

Don't know what "strict regulations" now in place have rendered "the industry pretty clean" in your view, so not sure what matters, or matters most, to you (e.g., labor conditions-standards, environmental-ecological impact?), and since antique diamonds didn't all arrive here from the same locale (even within the same country) within a narrow time frame, think you will be hard pressed to suss out whatever you're looking for.
But here are some contemporaneous accounts of the early days of diamond recovery in South Africa:
* Anthony Trollope's The Diamond Fields of South Africa (circa 1871) -- starts at p. 437 here:
http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924026424352#page/n507/mode/2up

* chapter 5 of William Pawson's (called himself A Practical Digger) diary of his travels to South Africa at that same time:
http://www.dpawson.co.uk/william/index.html#d0e607

* An article that appeared in the March 1873 issue of Scribner's Monthly, Life in the New Diamond Diggings -- apologies for the huge URL, but it's what GoogleBooks gave me
https://books.google.com/books?id=DTigAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PA529&dq=%22life%20in%20the%20new%20diamond%20diggings%22&pg=PA529#v=onepage&q=%22life%20in%20the%20new%20diamond%20diggings%22&f=false

Even if these don't answer your questions, they are interesting reading :))
 

cookiebuttermonster

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Messages
94
Re: Antique stones and diamond industry practices of the tim

Sounds like those links will give me an idea of what I'm looking for, thank you :)
 

SparklySoprano

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
661
Re: Antique stones and diamond industry practices of the tim

Very cool thread! Interesting question, CookieButterMonster. (cute name btw!) Thanks for the helpful and fascinating links, MollyMalone.
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,084
Re: Antique stones and diamond industry practices of the tim

I'm so sorry, I thought I had previously posted this follow-up to my first response. The fairly rosy scene depicted in those pieces about the very earliest days (circa 1870) of diamond mining in South Africa (e.g., that the natives' typical daily wage received from the British and continental European venturers was higher than those paid to laborers in England) didn't last long.
http://www.britishempire.co.uk/maproom/southafrica/southafricamigrantlabour.htm

http://www.miningweekly.com/article/the-introduction-of-south-africas-first-pass-laws-on-migrant-labour-2010-09-17

http://www.sahistory.org.za/south-africa-1806-1899/pass-laws-south-africa-1800-1994
 
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