Last updateWed, 25 Mar 2020 1pm

The Story Behind the Stone: Such a deal

Jarrett pitReal estate listings are everywhere you look. That means you can expect some odd-ball properties to come onto market from time to time if you look long and far enough. Here’s one you may not have seen coming. We’ve never seen this come on the market before.

125 Year Old Property

A recent Financial Times (ft.com) headline read: De Beers to sell legendary Kimberley Mines. Readers learn that it is “set to end more than 125 years of diamond mining history.” The offering details the unloading of an iconic kingpin responsible for more than a century of mining and trading at that location, the Kimberley Mine.


Kimberley was the legendary South African axis of a mining frenzy that exploded when diamonds were discovered in the 19th century. Its location explains why. It’s the capital of the Northern Cape Province in South Africa. Situated about 110km east of the blending of both the Vaal and Orange Rivers, it was rich with alluvial rough. Exactly how rich was it? It remains so diamondiferous that several commercial diamond mines still operate there, as well as at the surrounding beaches.

The Orange River, according to history is where in 1866, Erasmus Jacobs first laid eyes on a sparkling pebble blinking at him on its banks, near his father’s farm. The 21.25 carat diamond ‘pebble’ went through a few hands before finally being named Eureka. Within three years a second stone was found; a doorknob of a rock weighing 83.5 carats and was named the Star of South Africa. Stampede ensued.

Jarrett roughEventually the excitement rippled throughout the world. By 1870 fortune seekers from all corners of the earth came rushing in. And fortune they found. The region became the globe’s leading diamond producer under Cecil Rhodes and then the Oppenheimer family.

Gleaning Through the Last Bits

Today De Beers no longer digs for diamonds at this deposit. For the last several years they’ve been engaged in tailings as it is called. Tailing is a diamond recovery process from previously mined rock; sort of a gleaning event.

What is the price for this historical piece of real estate? De Beers keeps this number close to the vest and on a need-to-know basis. But they intend to wrap it all up pronto. It may sweeten the deal to know that the Kimberley site still produces about 720K carats each year.

Accepting All Offers

Before putting in an offer, you’ll want to look at it first, like any astute buyer would do. Be prepared for the big cavity that is central to this property. Early miners poked plenty of holes all around Kimberley. But you won’t miss the big one at its epicenter. Sentimentally referred to as the Big Hole it’s a 200m deep cavernous diamond pit, once lauded as the largest hand-dug pit in the world.

Jarrett mapTakers, anyone?

Award winning trade journalist and gemologist Diana Jarrett is a Registered Master Valuer Appraiser and a member of the Association of Independent Jewellery Valuers (AIJV). She’s a popular speaker at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett writes for trade and consumer publications, online outlets, her blog: Color-n-Ice, and www.jewelrywebsitedesigners.com. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit her website at www.dianajarrett.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (Loupey).