IN the middle eighties, a Mr. Gilkes, while prospecting for gold in the interior of British Guiana, found a diamond. At that time the enormous development of the diamond mines of Africa from the chance finding of a single stone, had already attracted universal attention and prospectors were not slow to follow any similar lead. The gold prospector at once became a diamond seeker, and in a short time obtained quite a number of small stones. No large stone or great quantity was obtained, and probably for that reason systematic digging with the assistance of capital was not begun until early in 1900, when ” the British Guiana Diamond Syndicate ” obtained a concession of 2000 acres and commenced operations on the Putareng Creek, a tributary of the Mazaruni river. Later the Mazaruni Company obtained a concession of 5,858 acres in the district and is still in operation. Since then, a number of small companies, one of them American, operating on Nimbo Para creek, Mazaruni river, have been formed for the purpose of digging for diamonds in that district. There were 27 companies working in these fields in 1903, only 14 of whom re-ported over l00 stones.
The fields lie north of the Cordilleras of Parima, which at an average altitude of 4,000 feet, divide the rivers of the north coast line countries of South America from the great basin of the Amazon, south of which are the diamond fields of Bahia, Brazil. The diamonds are found in a somewhat remote part of Demarara. The route from Georgetown is up the coast about 20 miles to the mouth of the Essequibo river; up the river about 50 miles to Bartica, and thence by small boats, which must be carried around numerous falls, up the Mazaruni river to San-San-Kopai landing. This latter part of the journey consumes usually 14 days, the distance being between 90 and i00 miles. The diamondiferous area lies on the left bank of the Mazaruni river, between two of its tributaries, the Putareng creek, and a river which Alfred de Andrade, one of the pioneers of the fields, calls the Puruni river. Diamonds have been found also on the left bank of the Curibrong river near its junction with the Potari river.
The diamond-bearing gravel occurs usually under an overburden of gray sandy soil and rests on a clayey sub-soil. The crystals are found chiefly in the lower part of the gravel and sticking in the upper part of the clay, associated with jasper and other siliceous pebbles. The diamonds are usually of good quality but very small. Most of them run about 15 to the carat. Stones of three-quarters of a carat and over are extremely rare, and none of importance have yet been registered from these fields. An early report of a day’s work on a promising deposit, by one of the companies with a working force of 18 men, gave 22 cubic yards of ground handled, yielding 90 diamonds which weighed 5.7 carats. In the year ending June 30, 1902, 132,077 stones were declared; 1,414 from the Potari and other districts, the balance from the Mazaruni district. In 19023 the en-tire district registered at the Department of Lands and Mines, 163,680 diamonds weighing 10,446 carats. They were mostly marketed in London at $6.00 to $10.00 per carat. In 19034 the yield was about the same; 164,315 diamonds weighing 10,742 carats. Later reports show a falling off. In the calendar year 1905, only 86,096 stones weighing 5,315 carats were produced. Shipments in 1907 were 2,220 carats valued at $17,550 and in 1908, 4,968 carats valued at $40,872, but the indications are that the companies do not find it sufficiently remunerative to prosecute the work with much vigor. The fiscal year of 19089 shows improvement ; 56,982 stones weighing 5,189 carats were reported. Some believe that persistent development with sufficient outlay to place the fields in better communication with the outside world, would pay eventually, but with the meager results hitherto, and the lack of encouragement which an occasional find of a large stone would give, capital does not seem inclined to take further risks. Machinery has been introduced of late years, but the cost of transportation is very high, and with alluvial deposits, unless they are very rich and so situated that the machinery can be installed and moved without great expense, it is doubtful if the use of it pays as well as the old methods. In the old way of working claims, one man shoveled the gravel and clay into a wheelbarrow; four men wheeled it to the place where the stuff was worked. There, two men melted it in a “tam”; two cradled it; two jagged the sieves, and two or three worked at the sorting table where the gravel was searched. It was practically the same method employed in other countries with similar deposits, and though crude, had the advantage of being inexpensive, and the plant could follow the finds without loss of time or at great cost.
A new deposit has been discovered about 115 miles from the mouth of the Guyana river, near the Dukwarri cataract. The stones, like all other Guiana diamonds, are small.
Diamonds have been found also in the central part of Dutch Guiana in the Mindreneti district, between the Surinam and Saramaca rivers, but nothing of importance has been reported. All these are alluvial deposits, apparently very shallow and similar to those distributed among the streams of Bahia. The latter district is not noted for large stones, but those of the Guiana fields are yet smaller and less abundant.
Diamonds are found in Shantung, China. About 10 li (4 miles) east of the market town of Li Chia Chuang, is a low, sandy ridge, extending south and parallel with Ching P’u, the main road south, after it crosses the I Sui river about i8 miles southeast of Chefoo. The diamonds are found along this ridge for a distance of fully 8 miles. The natives will only look for them after rains, because they believe the rains bring them, quite oblivious of the fact that the washing of the sands by the falling rain discovers them. They cannot be persuaded to dig and wash the sand.
The stones are nearly all quite small. Occasionally, one as large as a pea or a hazel nut is picked up. The usual method of the farmers is to walk back and forth over the water-washed sands with sabots of rye-straw, which pick up the sharp-pointed crystals. The sabots are then burned and the ashes sieved for the diamonds. The larger ones are picked up from the ground when seen during the tramp. Many of them are broken or splintered crystals, and as they are used chiefly for drill points, most of the unbroken crystals are broken up later for that purpose. A few are sold for gem purposes. Some of them are white, but a large majority are yellow or brownish-yellow.
The finders obtain a good price for the stones, as buyers visit the place regularly at certain seasons of the year and usually carry away the entire output. The quantity obtained is unknown, but the output of stones suitable for cutting to jewels is inconsiderable.
Australia produces a few diamonds, usually quite small and of inferior quality as gems, though they have the reputation of being the hardest of any. Cutters say they can be cut only with their own powder. In hardness, average of size, and tendency, when colored, to great depth of color, they resemble the diamonds of Borneo. The crystals seldom weigh over one-quarter of a carat, though a few run up to three-quarters of a carat; occasionally one is found weighing upwards of one carat, and several have been reported since the first discovery, which weighed between five and six carats each. At Bingara they ran about five to the carat, and fifty per cent. were straw colored. They are found usually in the gold and tin washings. Almost the entire product comes from New South Wales, however, which is not nearly as rich in gold as Victoria, where few diamonds are found.
The discovery of diamonds was first reported from Reedy creek, a tributary of the Macquarie river, near Bathurst, in New South Wales. The same year another was obtained near the Turon river. From that time, the attention of the gold diggers being drawn to the fact that diamonds existed in the gravels thereabouts, others were found occasionally in the neighborhood of all the streams emptying into the Macquarie as far north and west as the Cudgegong river, the earliest coming from the Calabash and Pyramul creeks. In September, 1859, several were found at Suttor’s Bar on the Macquarie river, and another in October at Burrendong. These discoveries awakened considerable interest; but not sufficient for several years to enlist capital for an organized search for diamonds. Systematic work was begun in the neighborhood of Mudgee on the Cudgegong in 1869 by ” the Australian Diamond Mines Company ” of Melbourne, but the results were not satisfactory. In the first five months’ systematic washing in the Cudgegong district, 2,500 diamonds were found, one weighing 53/8 carats. They were mostly colorless, though straw, brown, black, and a dark green which looked as though it had been polished with black lead, were among them.
In addition to the fields near the tributaries of the Macquarie from Oberon to Wellington, one was discovered to the southwest near the Lachlan river. In the early seventies, considerable work was done in the Bingara fields on the river Horton, a tributary of the Gwydir river, to the northeast of the Macquarie, and since then and now, in the Inverell district, a little further north. Inverell is situated a few miles north of Bingara and the junction of Copes Creek and the Gwydir. ” The Star of the South ” mine, in the Inverell district, is on a hill of basalt in which shafts are sunk to the diamondiferous gravel. Reports have been made at various times of exceptionally rich washings from these districts. Prospectors found 551 diamonds in one load of wash in 1895. But the average bears no comparison with the yield of the African mines. At present, most of the Australian diamonds come from the Gwydir river and tributaries, near Inverell. A London company, ” The Inverell Diamond Fields Limited,” was formed in 1897, to operate in this district. The mine closed in 1900 with a total product of 37,400 carats and 39 tons of stream tin. They are found also along Shoalhaven river near the east coast. The first washing of the Elliott Diamond and Tin Mining Company, operating near Inverell, produced 3 carats of diamonds to the load and 40 lbs. stream tin.
In Queensland, diamonds have been found along the Palmer and Gilbert rivers; they occur also at Echunga, 20 miles southeast of Adelaide, Australia. Early in 1907 some were reported from that district, ranging from one to five carats each. In 1862, some were found in the gold fields of the Beechworth district in Victoria, and they occur near Freemantle in West Australia. A diamond found at Coriona in Tasmania in 1894 created considerable excitement, but the diggers who flocked there, failed to open up a new diamond field. Another was reported by W. H. Twelvetrees, the Government Geologist, in 1906, who with his report said that the ultra-basic rocks and the presence of ancient carbonaceous shale, indicated a possibility of diamondiferous material being found in the district. This diamond, a bright octahedral crystal, weighing one-eighth of a carat, was found at Long Plains on the west coast. When exposed to bromide of radium it glowed and became luminous in the dark. It showed a faint greenish-yellow tint at its terminations.
Some idea of the size and quality of Australian diamonds may be had from the estimate of the production of New South Wales, from whence most of them come, up to the end of 1901, which was 109,425 carats valued at $326,455, or a carat value of about half that of the Kimberley diamonds at the time of the De Beers Consolidation, before the London Syndicate began to advance the price. The yield of 1902 is estimated at $48,-780. The production of 1906 is estimated at 2,251 carats, worth £1,992, and of 1907 at 2,539 carats valued at £2,056.
The diamonds are found in an alluvial deposit of gravel overlain usually by a basaltic flow. The deposits are near the present beds of streams, but are frequently at an elevation of some feet above the banks. According to Llewellyn Parker, the country rock under the gravel consists of carboniferous clay stones and tuffs, resting on granite. Doleritic dykes break through the granite and the leads lie above them and beneath the basaltic flow. A small diamond enclosed in a piece of rock was found in one of these dykes, about ten feet below the gravel layer. Five feet of the upper part of the dyke was decomposed into a soft yellow earth. Below, it was a hard, bluish-green, coarsely crystalline dolerite. An-other diamond was found under similar conditions, and much interest in the matter was aroused among scientists, who thought it might afford a clew to the matrix of the diamonds. Four in all were found in a rock matrix, but a further examination of nearly 90 tons of the rock yielded no more. As in West Australia, some of the diamonds, according to Prof. David, occur in very ancient gravels now consolidated into conglomerates. The loose gravels are of a much later age.
The crystals are chiefly octahedrons, though dodecahedrons and similar forms occur also. They are of various colors, white, yellow, brown, black, and one twinned crystal of a dark green was discovered.
Diamonds similar to those of Australia are found in Borneo. They run small, are very hard and many of them are colored. The fields have undoubtedly been worked for centuries, as the Dutch on their first arrival there found mining operations being regularly carried on and ancient native gems are in the possession of the princes. The rajahs of Panembohan and Pongerans possess a large belt studded with diamonds, one of them weighing 67 carats. It is difficult to make a reliable estimate of the quantity produced. The natives regard the gold and diamonds as a kind of natural bank provided to be drawn on at pleasure. The native princes claim all stones over five carats at a fixed price. Undoubtedly they do not get them all, but naturally there is less public knowledge of the contraband stones than of those taken by the princes, and of them it is known only that the overlords have them in their treasuries. As far as records go, it appears that the production during the first half of the nineteenth century averaged about 5,000 carats per annum, and it is thought to be about the same now, though it is probably less, as mining operations have little encouragement.
In the eighteenth century, the yield was probably much greater, for the fields of Borneo are mentioned, with those of India, as important, in books published in the early part of the nineteenth century, and it was estimated that the production amounted at times to several hundred thousand dollars to upwards of two million dollars in value per annum. Evidences remain that numerous claims were worked, but as in India, the diamondiferous material is an alluvial deposit, and as these long known deposits have been worked for ages and no new discoveries made, they are nearly exhausted. A point was reached some time ago where the cutters of Borneo could buy diamonds from Australia and the Cape for less money than the natives could dig them in the home country, and to-day most of the diamonds cut in Borneo are imported from those countries. About 16,000 carats, worth $200,000, are imported from Africa annually.
Borneo cuts for Java, Singapore and Siam, sending the white stones to the latter countries and the yellow and colored ones to Java.
The principal diamond fields of Borneo are situated in the Landak district near Pontianak, the capital of Dutch Borneo, on the west coast, and in the neighbor-hood of Martapura on the south coast to the east of the island. They are found also along the Sarawak river north of the Pontianak or Landak district, in the north-western part of the island, on the rivers Sikajam and Meran in the same section, and at Kusan on the eastern side. In 1904 some excitement in the diamond trade of London was produced by the announcement that an engineer in the employment of the British North Borneo Company had discovered in that part of the island a clay or rock similar to the kimberlite of the African chimneys, His report of the occurrence there of material of that character has been since verified, but no discovery of diamonds in it has been reported.
As in all other alluvial deposits, the diamonds are accompanied by pebbles of a siliceous nature and also by a form of blue or bluish-gray corundum which is regarded by the natives as a sure indication of the presence of diamonds. This companion of the ” Prince,” as the diamond is termed, is known as Ba to timahan. It is not of a quality to cut for jewels, and was long thought to be a form of quartz. Like the black tourmaline or ” jetstone ” of the Bingara fields of Australia, its chief value in the eyes of the miners is that it assures them of the presence of the more precious gem.
Mining is carried on by Malays and Chinese, the latter being skillful and economical miners. A French company secured a 25-year concession in 1882 to work a tract of about 5,000 acres near Tjampaka in the Tanahlaut or Martapura district, but work was discontinued in about a year after operations began. Apparently, the deposits are not sufficiently rich and the location of paying diamondiferous material too uncertain, to warrant risking the expense of a thoroughly equipped mining organization. Even the skill and economy of the Chinese fail at times to win enough to hold them to the work, and the diamond diggings are deserted for the neighboring goldfields, from which returns are more sure. At times, however, there is great activity. In a few weeks of 1905, 1,278 licenses were taken out in Martapura.
Most of the crystals are octahedrons and dodecahedrons. The natives call the former ” perfect stones,” and simply polish the native facets; when the angles are sharp and the facets bright, they are called ” intan menjadi ” and are worn as found. Diamond cutting is done at Pontianak, Martapura and elsewhere. The art has been practiced in Borneo for centuries. There are two shops in Martapura, one employing 270 and the other about 150 workmen. Besides these about 300 polishers and 160 cleavers work independently. They are paid about fifty cents per carat for cutting brilliants, and about thirty-five cents for cutting roses. There are diamond-cutting establishments in Pagattam and Toenggoel also.
The diamonds are found in the beds of the streams of to-day, and also in the gravels of watercourses long since covered up. The miners sink shafts through the overburden and tunnel into the diamondiferous material in crude fashion, hoisting the gravel to the surface and washing it in about the same way as all others do who work in alluvial deposits. The Malays wash in a small bowl and show remarkable skill and keen vision, picking out with unerring rapidity diamonds so small as to escape entirely the observation of a European. The Malays mine and cut in the crude Oriental ways of ancient times, but the Chinese adopt some modern methods in their mining operations. The cutting is done by natives.
The deposits of the Landak district are older than those of the southeastern section around Martapura, but all the fields alike are remarkable for the number of stones of deep color they afford. Borneo has produced more diamonds, proportionately, of rare colors than any other country; red, green, black and deep rich brown. According to Dr. Theodor Posewitz, a mining engineer who resided in Borneo for some years, as given by E. W. Streeter in his work on Precious Stones, the natives have names by which they designate the most important.
A red diamond, which is very rare, is called ” Radja intan ” or King of Diamonds; bottle-green diamonds, also rare and valuable, are ” Intan Katja hitam “; pale blue or sea-water diamonds are ” Intan-ajer-Lant,” and ” Intan minjak ” is the name given to brown stones. ” Chaping ” are flat twin crystals. Uncut diamonds are called ” podi ” and when cut they are ” intan.” Some fine colored diamonds have been found in the Sarawak and other rivers, but they can only be worked in dry sea-sons. A round, rolled crystal, of good color, containing a dark core, is sometimes found, which the natives do not attempt to cut, but wear it in its natural state as an amulet. They call it ” Buntat intan,” or ” Soul of the diamond.” When this is found in a digging, the digger moves on. He regards it as a sure sign that there are no other diamonds near. He also has faith that if he wears the Buntat intan suspended from his neck, it will bring him good luck in his search further.
As in Australia, the diamondiferous deposits lie at a considerable elevation above the present watercourses, though they are all near the banks of some river.
July 5, 1829, when Humboldt and Rose were on their journey to Siberia, the first European diamond is said to have been found in the district of Hütte Bisersk, in the Urals, Russia, by Count Polier. It was found in gold-washings on the estate of his wife, Princess Shachovskoi. Humboldt was convinced by the similarity between the gold and platinum deposits of that country and those of Brazil, that diamonds existed there, and practically staked his reputation for sound judgment in the matter, by assuring the Czarina when starting on the expedition he was about to make at the request of the Czar Nicholas, that he would certainly bring Russian diamonds back with him from the Uralian deposits. Though he had the enthusiastic assistance of Count Polier, Humboldt met with little success, and some Russians of the neighborhood have hinted that the diamond he brought back was placed there to be found for him. No proof of fraud exists, however, and as diamonds have undoubtedly been found throughout that section since, and Russian mineralogists, after carefully looking into the matter, were of the opinion that the discovery was genuine, he may be said to have proved his assertion.
This first diamond was found in a small gold-washing of Adolphskoi, on a stream connected with the Poludenka, a head-stream of the Kovia, which by way of an-other tributary flows into the Kama river. During the next five years, about 50 small diamonds were found, of which the largest weighed under three carats. Search has been made constantly in the gold-washings through-out the Ural mountains from that time to the present, and probably 200 stones in all have been found. Small crystals, of scientific interest only, have been picked up from time to time over a wide range south to the gold-washings of Katshkar. With few variations, the minerals usually associated with diamonds, occur with them here also, i. e., garnet, quartz, zircon, topaz, rutile, magnetite, cassiterite, epidote, etc.
There has been much scientific speculation as to the rock from which they were derived, but as the diamonds have been all found in sands, no undisputed conclusion has been reached. The mountain ridges above the streams are described as quartzose chloritic talcschist, and the sands lie on a bed of dolomite.
A few microscopic diamonds have been found in Russian Lapland in the valley of the Pasvig river. Gneiss is the bed-rock, and the associate minerals are with one or two variations the same as in India and Brazil.
A few diamonds have been found in the Sierra Madre, southwest of Acapulco in Mexico, and one was found in sand with Pyropes at Dlascekowitz, in Bohemia. A re-port of one discovered in Ireland was not authenticated.
There is a Jesuit tradition that diamonds have been found on Jesuit lands in the district of Tena, 30 miles from Bogota, Colombia, but several years’ search has failed to discover any.
Strata of clay said to be similar to kimberlite exists in the State of Trujillo, Venezuela, and a concession was obtained from the government some years ago to work them for diamonds, but none were found.
A few diamonds have been found at various times in the United States, but until the discovery of what is thought to be a diamond chimney like those of Africa, in Pike County, Arkansas, in 1906, the fields gave no promise of others, sufficient to induce prospecting for more. Single stones have been picked up at long intervals, chiefly along the eastern base of the Appalachians, in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Most of them have been found, associated with gold, in the Carolinas, though the largest, weighing 233/4 carats, was found by a laborer while working in an excavation in a street of Manchester, Virginia, in 1855. This crystal was an octahedron with rounded edges. It was cut to 11 11/16 carats, and though poor in color and badly flawed, brought a large price; very much more than it was worth. It was known after-wards as the ” Dewey” diamond. No diamond as large has since been found in the States.
The diamonds found in this section of the country have been taken from detrital matter, derived evidently from the weathering of the crystalline-silicate rocks which constitute the surrounding mountains. The gravels contain minerals similar to those associated with diamonds in alluvial deposits elsewhere, viz., garnet, zircon, gold, magnetite and anatase, and some monazite, a rare mineral generally met with in the Brazil fields. The flexible sandstone, itacolumite, thought by some to be the matrix of the diamonds of Brazil, is also found with gold in the neighborhood of places in the Carolinas where diamonds have been found, though no report has been made of a diamond being found in it. The crystals are mostly octahedra and, excepting the Dewey, the largest, found in 1886, weighed 4% carats. The first diamond found in North Carolina came from Brindletown Creek, Burke county, in 1843.
A few stones have been found in superficial deposits in Kentucky and Tennessee, but without indications of the source from whence they came. Work has been done on the peridotite dike at Ison creek in Elliot county, and other similar dikes in northeastern Kentucky have been prospected without success.
The path of the glacial drift through Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, has afforded quite a number of diamonds. Most of them were found in Wisconsin. It is supposed that they were brought down from Canada by the ice, and in 1899, Professor W. H. Hobbs, after a careful study of the glacial striae leading to the localities where the diamonds were found, surmised that they came from somewhere near James Bay on Hudson Bay. In 1876 a yellow diamond and some others were reported as found near Eagle in Waukesha county. In 1886 a pale yellow irregular rhombic dodecahedron weighing 21 1/4 carats was found at Kohlsville in Washington county, and in 1896 a diamond of over 6 carats was reported as having been found at Saukville in Ozukee county in 1880. In 1893 one of 3 7/8 carats was found at Oregon, Dane county, in clay. Another, found in southern Wisconsin, which weighed over 16 carats, is now in the J. Pierpont Morgan collection.
Several diamonds have been found at various times in Morgan county, Indiana, for one of which $1,200 was offered according to report. The amount represented local sentiment, however, as the stone was not worth nearly as much. Most of these stones were found while cleaning up gold-washings. The first diamond found in America was found in Indiana in 1837. It is a white stone and cut as a jewel, weighs about 2 carats. It is claimed that diamonds with other precious stones have been found in the hills of Brown county within 40 miles of Indianapolis.
Diamonds have been found occasionally in the gold placer and platinum mines of California since 1850, most of them in the neighborhood of Fiddletown and Volcano in Amador county. They have been found also in Butte, El Dorado, Nevada and Trinity counties. The first of which there is a good record, came from the Cherokee district, Butte county, in 1853. During the last ten years there have been numerous reports of ” finds ” which have been more fruitful of stock companies than diamonds and the “kimberlite ” which South African experts have been called in to vouch for, has, in some cases certainly, proved to be a very different material from the South African peridotite, so named.
Diamonds have been reported from Idaho and Montana, and one brown crystal which weighed one carat, from Philadelphos, Arizona. Much excitement and some legislation was secured by the discovery of diamonds and rubies in Arizona a few years back. The discoverers had first salted the ground very liberally with African diamonds and garnets. It cost their western dupes about three-quarters of a million dollars all told.
The finding of a diamond by John W. Huddleston, 2 miles southeast of Murfreesboro, Pike county, Arkansas, in August, 1906, has since been prolific of learned opinions and discussions and, as far as publicly known, about 140 diamonds ranging from 1/64 of a carat to about 6/ carats each. Investigation showed that a volcanic pipe of material, which authorities pronounce similar to the kimberlite of Africa, exists where the diamonds are found, and it was confidently hoped that it would prove rich in diamonds. A company of reputable men was formed to develop the property and about 130 diamonds were found during the first year, but nothing of any importance has been reported, though much work has been done. Since the original company was taken over by another with a largely increased capital stock, however, there is a report that about 5,000 stones altogether, weighing 217 carats, have been taken from the property of the Arkansas Diamond Company, and about 35 stones from the Mauny tract in the same pipe.
There is a popular idea that material like the kimberlite of South Africa necessarily carries diamonds. Not only is this not so, but when it does, it does not always follow that there are diamonds sufficient to pay for getting them out. The richest diamond chimneys of Africa together, do not average % carat of diamond to 1,600 pounds weight of the matrix, and though very many diamondiferous pipes have been discovered there, only a very few pay the expense of working them. Undoubtedly there are a number of volcanic dikes in the United States of similar material, and in some cases, almost identical with that contained in the African pipes, but in that which most resembles the African, no diamonds whatever have been discovered. Many of the so-called diamonds reported, have proved to be rock crystal; some of the genuine diamonds found are thought to have been placed where they were discovered, and the circulation of exaggerated stories in the press has always been followed by the formation of stock companies whose printing bills far exceeded in amount, the value of the diamonds produced. It is doubtful if all the diamonds found thus far in the United States would fetch $10,000 as regular merchandise even at the present high prices.
” One touch of Nature makes the whole world akin.” For long years man regarded all the universe outside the earth as something foreign and strange; unlike the elements with which we are familiar. But the earth, sweeping through her orbit, catches betimes some wanderers in space and drawing them to her, anchors them forever from their aeonic journeyings. These meteoric visitors upon examination, reveal to us that in the far-away space which our imagination has peopled with spirits and things ethereal, are the same solid elements common to us here and subject to the same laws which govern ours. The white hot line which came from other worlds to cross our sky, when we dig it from the earth where it plunged to darkness, is found to be a mass of minerals the same as ours, heated as ours would be if a similar lump of them went hurtling through the air at 40 miles per second. Iron, the same as ours; olivine and augite, the same as that of earthly origin, and in some of these fragments of far-off worlds are crystals such as the people of earth cut into gems with which to bedeck themselves. It may be therefore that in other spheres there are creatures who also shine resplendent with diamonds.
On September 22, 1886, three of these meteorites fell near Novo Urei, a small place on the right bank of the Alatyr, a river 0f the Krasnoslobodsk district of the government of Penza, a remote part of southeastern Russia. One of these on examination by scientists was found to contain about 1 per cent, of diamantoid carbon in the form of carbonado in small grayish grains.
Diamonds in some form, usually as cubes of graphite, have since been found in a number of other meteorites which have come to the earth in various parts of the world. It is thought that these were originally diamond crystals and were later changed to graphite, as they would change if subjected to a high temperature without access of air. Such diamondiferous meteorites have fallen at Canon Diablo in Arizona, at Toluca in Mexico, in Tennessee, U. S., Arva in Hungary and at Carcote in the desert of Atacama, Chile. In the latter, the grains of diamond were black.
The finding of diamondiferous carbon in these meteorites, which are fused masses, of iron principally, has done much to establish the conviction that carbon was crystallized in the earth by heat and pressure, and by the mental reaction of imaginative minds, has produced many fanciful theories and much poetic writing. It has been suggested that in ages past such meteorites, rained upon the earth and embedded there, the matrix dissolved by the restless chemistry of Nature, may have furnished for the discovery of later ages, mines of the indestructible gem. This is poetic babble. The earth needs not to draw upon vagrants of the sky, charged as it is in every pore with the element of which diamond is its purest and most beautiful form. In earth and air; in things animate and inanimate; in the vegetation of the earth and the bodies of men; in the charcoal pit and the breath we constantly expire, is that of which diamond is only a form, carbon.