• Short Summary

    THE HECTIC DAYS OF THE DIAMOND RUSH IN SOUTH AFRICA ARE NOW A MEMORY OF THE PAST.

  • Description

    THE HECTIC DAYS OF THE DIAMOND RUSH IN SOUTH AFRICA ARE NOW A MEMORY OF THE PAST. ONLY PILES OF RUBBLE AND ERODED WORKINGS REMAIN AS TELL-TALE SIGNS OF WHERE PROSPECTORS SOUGHT, AND SOMETIMES MADE, A FORTUNE. THE TRUE WEALTH OF THE VELDT HAS GONE OR PASSED INTO THE CONTROL OF MAJOR COMPANIES, BUT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL SEEKING TREASURE THE SOIL OF THE TRANSVAAL STILL HAS MUCH TO OFFER.

    AMID THE DEBRIS OF THE DIAMOND RUSH OF THE 1930's SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES ARE TO BE FOUND IN ABUNDANCE. BUT IT DOES TAKE A TRAINED EYE AND PATIENCE TO FIND THEM. FOR MEMBERS OF A MINERAL AND GEM CLUB IN JOHANNESBURG, THIS UNCLAIMED WEALTH HAS FORMED THE BASIS OF A DIVERTING AND REWARDING HOBBY.

    MOST PLENTIFUL AMID THE OLD WORKINGS ARE AGATE AND JASPER. BOTH ARE TYPES OF QUARTZ AND, WHEN POLISHED, REVEAL DELICATE COLOURS FROM REDS AND YELLOWS TO BLUES AND GREYS. THE ONLY TOOLS REQUIRED ARE A GEOLOGISTS HAMMER AND A SMALL SACK OR BAG TO CARRY THE STONES IN THE RAW FORM. A LIKELY LOOKING SPECIMEN IS TAPPED, AND, IN THE CASE OF AGATE, IF THE CONCENTRIC RINGS ARE REVEALED, IT IS POPPED INTO THE BAG FOR CUTTING AND POLISHING.

    THE MEMBERS OF THE CLUB, SOME 200 IN NUMBER, HAVE WELL-EQUIPPED WORKSHOPS IN THEIR HOMES. THERE THE STONES ARE CLEANED BY TUMBLING IN A CONTAINER FILLED WITH A MIXTURE OF WATER AND GRIT; A POWERFUL ABRASIVE WHICH REMOVES EVERY TRACE OF EARTH FROM THE RAW STONE. DEPENDING ON THE SIZE, SOME ARE CUT TO REVEAL THE GEOMETRIC PATTERNS WHICH ARE DISTINCTIVE OF AGATE. THE COLOURS ARE RICH AND WELL-DEFINED. JASPER, WHICH IS NOT QUITE SO COMMON, IS GENERALLY OF A SINGLE COLOUR.

    FEW OF THE PROSPECTORS KEEP THE STONES, AS THERE IS A READY MARKET FOR THEM IN SOUTH AFRICA AND ABROAD. AGATE IS USED IN FORMING THE KNIFE-EDGES OF DELICATE BALANCES, BURNISHERS, WRITING STYLES, UMBRELLA HANDLES, SEALS, BROOCHES AND ORNAMENTS.

    SYNOPSIS: BLOEMHOF ON THE ROLLING VELDT IN SOUTH AFRICA'S TRANSVAAL, AND IT WAS TO PLACES LIKE THIS THAT PROSPECTORS CAME MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS AGO IN SEARCH OF DIAMONDS AND A FORTUNE. THE LURE OF PRECIOUS STONES IS NOW A MEMORY, BUT THE SOIL OF THE TRANSVAAL STILL HAS MUCH TO OFFER THE AMATEUR PROSPECTOR IN THE WAY OF SEMI-PRECIOUS GEMS.

    IT IS TO AREAS LIKE THIS THAT MEMBERS OF A JOHANNESBURG GEM AND MINERAL CLUB HEAD IN THEIR FREE TIME. ARMED WITH GEOLOGIST'S HAMMERS AND SMALL SACKS THEY SEARCH AMID THE RUBBLE OF THE OLD DIAMOND WORKINGS FOR AGATE AND JASPER -- VALUABLE AND COLOURFUL FORMS OF QUARTZ. IT TAKES A TRAINED EYE AND PATIENCE TO FIND A GEMSTONE AMID THE RUBBLE. ONCE A HAUL OF LIKELY LOOKING STONES IS COLLECTED, THE PART-TIME PROSPECTORS HEAD FOR HOME... AND THEIR WORKSHOPS.

    MR. T. STEYN, IS A BOILER-MAKER BY TRADE, BUT IN HIS SPARE TIME AN ACCOMPLISHED GEMOLOGIST. HE'S CONVERTED THE BACK OF HIS JOHANNESBURG HOME INTO A WORKSHOP WHERE HE CUTS AND POLISHES HIS FINDS FROM BLOEMHOF. FIRST, THE STONES ARE TUMBLED IN A MIXTURE OF WATER AND GRIT. THIS ACTS AS A POWERFUL ABRASIVE REMOVING THE COVERING OF EARTH FROM THE RAW STONE. IF IT APPEARS CRUDE, IT IS NEVERTHELESS EFFECTIVE.

    THE STONES ARE THEN WASHED TO REMOVE THE EXCESS GRIT. IT IS ONLY THEN THAT THE RICH COLOURS AND PATTERNS OF THE STONES ARE FINALLY REVEALED. THE LINED PATTERNS OF AGATE AND THE SINGLE, RICH COLOURS OF JASPER.

    AGATE APPEARS IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD AND THE SURROUNDING SOIL INFLUENCES THE COLOUR. SOUTH AFRICAN AGATE IS GREY-BLUE, WHITE AND BLACK AND SOMETIMES YELLOW-RED. IT IS ALWAYS CUT TO REVEAL THE ALMOST GEOMETRIC PATTERN OF RINGS WHICH ARE DISTINCTIVE TO THIS STONE. IT IS BOTH DECOROUS AND USEFUL.

    THE MEMBERS OF THE CLUB FIND PROFIT IN THE SALE OF THE STONES AT HOME AND ABROAD. BESIDES ITS USE FOR COSTUME JEWELLERY, AGATE IS USED FOR THE KNIFE-EDGES OF DELICATE BALANCES, EQUIPMENT FOR LABORATORIES AND TIPS OF PRECISION PENS FOR TRACING AND TECHNICAL DRAWING. SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES WITH VERY NEARLY A THOUSAND-AND-ONE USES.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAABV6CPTXMTH8H1H9W1VJX7LI
    Media URN:
    VLVAABV6CPTXMTH8H1H9W1VJX7LI
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    10/05/1965
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:02:25:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment