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DIAMOND

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Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 161 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DIAMOND, a mineral universally recognized as chief among precious stones; it is the hardest, the most imperishable, and also the most brilliant of minerals.l These qualities alone have made it supreme as a jewel since early times, and yet the real brilliancy of the stone is not' displayed until it has been faceted by the art of the lapidary (q.v.); and this was scarcely developed before the year 1746. The consummate hardness of the diamond, in spite of its high price, has made it most useful for purposes of grinding, polishing and drilling. Numerous attempts have been made to manufacture the diamond by artificial means, and these attempts have a high scientific interest on account of the mystery which surrounds the natural origin of this remarkable mineral. Its physical and chemical properties have been the subject of much study, and have a special interest in view of the extraordinary difference between the physical characters of the diamond and those of graphite (blacklead) or charcoal, with which it is chemically identical, and into which it can be converted by the action of heat or electricity. Again, on account of the great value of the diamond, much of the romance of precious stones has centred round this mineral; and the history of some of the great diamonds of historic times has been traced through many extraordinary vicissitudes. The name 'Abaµas, " the invincible," was probably applied by the Greeks to hard metals, and thence to corundum (emery) and other hard stones. According to Charles William King, the first undoubted application of the name to the diamond is found in Manilius (A.D. 16),—Sic Adamas, punctum lapidis, pretiosior auro,—and Pliny (A.D. loo) speaks of the rarity of the stone, " the most valuable of gems, known only to kings." Pliny de-scribed six varieties, among which the Indian, having six pointed angles, and also resembling two pyramids (turbines, whip-tops) placed base to base, may probably be identified as the ordinary octahedral crystal (fig. I). The " diamond " (Yahalom) in the breastplate of the high priest (Ex. xxxix. II) was certainly some other stone, for it bore the name of a tribe, and methods of engraving the true diamond cannot have been known so early. The stone can hardly have become familiar to the Romans until introduced from India, where it was probably mined at a very early period. But one or other of the remaining varieties mentioned by Pliny (the Macedonian, the Arabian, the Cyprian, &c.) may be the true diamond, which was in great request for the tool of the gem-engraver. Later Roman authors mentioned various rivers in India as yielding the Adamas among their sands. The name Adamas became corrupted into the forms adamant, diamaunt, diamant, diamond; but the same word, owing to a medieval misinterpretation which derived it from adamare (compare the French word aimant), was also applied to the lodestone. Like all the precious stones, the diamond was credited with many marvellous virtues; among others the power of averting insanity, and of rendering poison harmless; and in the middle I Diamonds are invariably weighed in carats and in i1, of a carat. One (English) carat =3.17 grains= .2o54 gram. One ounce =1511 carats. (See CARAT.) ages it was known as the " pietra della reconciliazione," as the peacemaker between husband and wife. Scientific Characters.—The majority of minerals are found most commonly in masses which can with difficulty be recognized as aggregates of crystalline grains, and occur comparatively seldom as distinct crystals; but the diamond is almost always found in single crystals, which show no signs of previous attachment to any matrix; the stones were, until the discovery of the South African mines, almost entirely derived from sands or gravels, but owing to the hardness of the mineral it is rarely, if ever, water-worn, and the crystals are often very perfect. The crystals belong to the cubic system, generally assuming the form of the octahedron (fig. I), but they may, in accordance with the principles of crystallography, also occur in other forms symmetric-ally derived from the octahedron,—for example, the cube, the I2-faced figure known as the rhombic dodecahedron (fig. 2), or the 48-faced figure known as the hexakis-octahedron (fig. 3), or in combinations of these. The octahedron faces are usually smooth; most of the other faces are rounded (fig. 4). The cube faces are rough with protruding points. The cube is sometimes found in Brazil, but is very rare among the S. African stones; and the dodecahedron is perhaps more common in Brazil than elsewhere. '..'""" "' =.""" There is often a furrow running along the edges of the octahedron, or across the edges of the cube, and this indicates that the apparently simple crystal may really consist of eight individuals meet- ing at the centre; or, what comes to the same thing, of two individuals inter-penetrating and projecting through each other. If this be so the form of the diamond is really the tetrahedron (and the various figures derived symmetrically from it) and not the octadehron. Fig. 5 shows how the octahedron with furrowed edge may be constructed from two interpenetrating tetrahedra (shown in dotted lines). If the grooves be left out of account, the large faces which have replaced each tetrahedron corner then make up a figure which has the aspect of a simple octahedron. Such regular interpenetrations are known FIG. 6. in crystallography as " twins." There are also twins of diamond in which two octahedra (fig. 6) are united by contact along a surface parallel to an octahedron face without interpenetration. On account of their resemblance to the twins of the mineral spinel (which crystallizes in octahedra) these are known as " spinel twins." They are generaIly flattened along the plane of union. The crystals often display triangular markings, either elevations or pits, upon the octahedron faces; the latter are particularly well defined and have the form of equilateral triangles (fig. 7). They are similar to the " etched figures " produced by moistening an octahedron of alum, and have probably been produced, like them, by the action of some solvent. Similar, but somewhat different markings are produced by the combustion of diamond in oxygen, unaccompanied by any rounding of the edges. Diamond possesses a brilliant " adamantine " lustre, but this tends to be greasy on the surface of the natural stones and gives the rounded crystals somewhat the appearance of drops of gum. Absolutely colourless stones are not so common as cloudy and faintly coloured specimens; the usual tints are grey, brown, yellow or white; and as rarities, red, green, blue and black stones have been found. The colour can sometimes be removed or changed at a high temperature, but generally returns on cooling. It is therefore more probably due to metallic oxides than to hydrocarbons. Sir William Crookes has, however, changed a pale yellow diamond to a bluish-green colour by keeping it embedded in radium bromide for eleven weeks. The black coloration upon the surface produced by this process, as also by the electric bombardment in a vacuum tube, appears to be due to a conversion of the surface film into graphite. Diamond may break with a conchoidal fracture, but the crystals always cleave readily along planes parallel to the octahedron faces: of this property the diamond cutters avail themselves when reducing the stone to the most convenient form for cutting; a sawing process, has, however, now been introduced, which is preferable to that of cleavage. It is the hardest known substance (though tantalum, or an alloy of tantalum now competes with it) and is chosen as to in the mineralogist's scale of hardness; but the difference in hardness between diamond (10) and corundum (9) is really greater than that between corundum (9) and talc (1); there is a difference in the hardness of the different faces; the Borneo stones are also said to be harder than those of Australia, and the Australian harder than the African, but this is by no means certain. The specific gravity ranges from 3.56 to 3.50, generally about 3.52. The coefficient of expansion increases very rapidly above 7500, and diminishes very rapidly at low temperatures; the maximum density is attained about -42° C. The very high refractive power (index = 2.417 for sodium light) gives the stone its extraordinary brilliancy; for light incident within a diamond at a greater angle than 241° is reflected back into the stone instead of passing through it; the corresponding angle for glass is 402°. The very high dispersion (index for red light = 2.402, for blue light = 2.460) gives it the wonderful" fire " or display of spectral colours. Certain absorption bands at the blue end of the spectrum are supposed to be due to rare elements such as samarium. Unlike other cubic crystals, diamond experiences a diminution of refractive index with increase of temperature. It is very transparent for Rontgen rays, whereas paste imitations are opaque. It is a good conductor of heat, and therefore feels colder to the touch than glass and imitation stones. The diamond has also a somewhat greasy feel. The specific heat increases rapidly with rising temperature up to 6o° C., and then more slowly. Crystals belonging to the cubic system should not be birefringent unless strained; diamond often displays double refraction particularly in the neighbourhood of inclusions, both liquid and solid; this is probably due to strain, and the spontaneous explosion of diamonds has often been observed. Diamond differs from graphite in being a bad conductor of electricity: it becomes positively electrified by friction. The electrical resistance is about that of ordinary glass, and is diminished by one-half during exposure by Rontgen rays; the dielectric constant (16) is greater than that which should correspond to the specific gravity. The phosphorescence produced by friction has been known since the time of Robert Boyle (1663); the diamond becomes luminous in a dark room after exposure to sunlight or in the presence, of radium; and many stones phosphoresce beautifully (generally with a pale green light) when subjected to the electric discharge in a vacuum tube. Some diamonds are more phosphorescent than others, and different faces of a crystal may display different tints. The combustibility of the diamond was predicted by Sir Isaac Newton on account of its high refractive power; it was first established experimentally by the Florentine Academicians in 1694. In oxygen or air diamond burns at about 85o°, and only continues to do so if maintained at a high temperature; but in the absence of oxidising agents it may be raised to a much higher temperature. It •is, however, infusible at the temperature of the electric arc, but becomes converted superficially into graphite. Experiments on the combustion ofdiamond were made by Smithson Tennant (1797) and Sir Humphry Davy (1816), with the object of proving that it is pure carbon; they showed that burnt in oxygen it yields exactly the same amount of carbon dioxide as that produced by burning the same weight of carbon. Still more convincing experiments were made by A. Krause in 1890. Similarly Guyton de Morveau showed that, like charcoal, diamond converts soft iron into steel. Diamond is insoluble in acid and alkalis, but is oxidised on heating with potassium bichromate and sulphuric acid. Bort (or Boart) is the name given to impure crystals or fragments useless for jewels; it is also applied to the rounded crystalline aggregates, which generally have a grey colour, a rough surface, often a radial structure, and are devoid of good cleavage. They are sometimes spherical (" shot bort "). Carbonado or " black diamond," found in Bahia (also recently in Minas Geraes), is a black material with a minutely crystalline structure somewhat porous, opaque, resembling charcoal in appearance, devoid of cleavage, rather harder than diamond, but of less specific gravity; it sometimes +displays a rude cubic crystalline form. The largest specimen found (1895) weighed 3078 carats. Both bort and carbonado seem to be really aggregates of crystallized diamond, but the carbonado is so nearly structureless that it was till recently regarded as an amorphous modification of carbon. Uses of the Diamond.—The use of the diamond for other purposes than jewelry depends upon its extreme hardness: it has always been the only material used for cutting or engraving the diamond itself. The employment of powdered bort and the lapidary's wheel for faceting diamonds was introduced by L. von Berquen of Bruges in 1476. Diamonds are now employed not only for faceting precious stones, but also for cutting and drilling glass, porcelain, &c,; for fine engraving such as scales; in dentistry for drilling; as a turning tool for electric-light carbons, hard rubber, &c.; and occasionally for finishing accurate turning work such as the axle of a transit instrument. For these tools the stone is actually shaped to the best form: it is now electroplated before being set in its metal mount in order to secure a firm fastening. It is also used for bearings in watches and electric meters. The best glaziers' diamonds are chosen from crystals such that a natural curved edge can be used. For rock drills, and revolving saws for stone cutting, either diamond, bort or carbonado is employed, set in steel tubes, disks or bands. Rock drilling is the most important industrial application; and for this, owing to its freedom from cleavage, the carbonado is more highly prized than diamond; it is broken into fragments about 3 carats in weight; and in 1905 the value of carbonado was no less than from £10 to £14 a carat. It has been found that the " carbons " in drills can safely be subjected to a pressure of over 6o kilograms per square millimetre, and a speed of 25 metres per second. A recent application of the diamond is for wire drawing; a hole tapering towards the centre is drilled through a diamond, and the metal is drawn through this. No other tool is so endurable, or gives such uniform thickness of wire. Distribution and Mining.—The most important localities for diamonds have been: (1) India, where they were mined from the earliest times till the close of the 19th century; (2) South America, where they have been mined since the middle of the 18th century; and (3) South Africa, to which almost the whole of the diamond-mining industry has been transferred since 1870. India.—The diamond is here found in ancient sandstones and conglomerates, and in the river gravels and sands derived from them. The sandstones and conglomerates belong to the Vindhyan formation and overlie the old crystalline rocks: the diamantiferous beds are well defined, often not more than 1 ft. in thickness, and contain pebbles of quartzite, jasper, sandstone, slate, &c. The mines fall into five groups situated on the eastern side of the Deccan plateau about the following places (beginning from the south), the first three being in Madras. (1) Chennur near Cuddapah on the river Pennar. (2) Kurnool near Baneganapalle between the rivers Pennar and Kistna. (3) Kollar near Bezwada on the river Kistna. (4) Sambalpur on the river Mahanadi in the Central Provinces. (5) Panna near Allahabad, in Bundelkhand. The mining has always been carried on by natives of low caste, and by primitive methods which do not differ much from those described by the French merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier (1605-1689), who paid a prolonged visit to most of the mines between 1638 and 1665 as a dealer in precious stones. According to his description shallow pits were sunk, and the gravel excavated was gathered into a walled enclosure where it was crushed and water was poured over it, and it was finally sifted in baskets and sorted by hand. The buying and selling was at that period conducted by young children. In more modern times there has been the same excavation of shallow pits, and sluicing, sifting and sorting, by hand labour, the only machinery used being chain pumps made of earthen bowls to remove the water from the deeper pits. At some of the Indian localities spasmodic mining has been carried on at different periods for centuries, at some the work which had been long abandoned was revived in recent times, at others it has long been abandoned altogether. Many of the large stones of antiquity were probably found in the Kollar group, where Tavernier found 60,000 workers in 1645 (?), the mines having, according to native accounts, been discovered about too years previously. Golconda was the fortress and the market for the diamond industry at this group of mines, and so gave its name to them. The old mines have now been completely abandoned, but in 1891 about moo carats were being raised annually in the neighbourhood of Hyderabad. The Sambalpur group appear to have been the most ancient mines of all, but they were not worked later than 185o. The Panna group were the most productive during the 19th century. India was no doubt the source of all the large stones of antiquity; a stone of 678 carats was found at Wajra Karur in the Chennur group in 1881, and one of 2101 carats at Hira Khund in 1809. Other Indian localities besides those mentioned above are Simla, in the N.W. Provinces, where a few stones have been found, and a district on the Gouel and the Sunk rivers in Bengal, which V. Ball has identified with the Soumelpour mentioned by Tavernier. The mines of Golconda and Kurnool were described as early as 1677 in the twelfth volume of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. At the present time very few Indian diamonds find their way out of the country, and, so far as the world's supply is concerned, Indian mining of diamonds may be considered extinct. The first blow to this industry was the discovery of the Brazilian mines in Minas Geraes and Bahia. Brazil.—Diamonds were found about 1725 at Tejuco (now Diamantina) in Minas Geraes, and the mining became important about 1740. The chief districts in Minas Geraes are (I) Bagagem on the W. side of the Serra da Mata da Corda; (2) Rio Abaete on the E. side of the same range; these two districts being among the head waters of the Rio de San Francisco and its tributaries; (3) Diamantina, on and about the watershed separating the Rio de San Francisco from the Rio Jequitinhonha; and (4) Grao Mogul, nearly 200 M. to the N.E. of Diamantina on the latter river. The Rio Abaete district was worked on a considerable scale between 1785 and 1807, but is now abandoned. Diamantina is at present the most important district; it occupies a mountainous plateau, and the diamonds are found both on the plateau and in the river valleys below it. The mountains consist here of an ancient laminated micaceous quartzite, which is in parts a flexible sandstone known as itacolumite, and in parts a conglomerate; it is interbedded with clay-slate, mica-schist, hornblende-schist and haematite-schist, and intersected by veins of quartz. This series is overlain unconformably by a younger quartzite of similar character, and itself rests upon the crystalline schists. The diamond is found under three conditions: (1) in the'gravels of the present rivers, embedded in a ferruginous clay-cemented conglomerate known as cascalho ; (2) in terraces (gupiarras) in a similar conglomerate occupying higher levels in the present valleys; (3) in plateau deposits in a coarse surface conglomerate known as gurgulho, the diamond and other heavy minerals being embedded in the red clay which cements the larger blocks. Under all these three conditions the diamond is associated with fragments of the rocks of the country and the minerals derived from them, especially quartz, hornstone, jasper, the polymorphous oxide of titanium (rutile, anatase and brookite), oxides and hydrates of iron (magnetite, ilmenite, haematite, limonite), oxide of tin, iron pyrites, tourmaline, garnet, xenotime, monazite, kyanite, diaspore, sphene, topaz, and several phosphates, and also gold. Since the heavy minerals of the cascalho in the river beds are more worn than those of the terraces, it is highly probable that they have been derived by the cutting down of the older river gravels represented by the terraces; and since in both deposits the heavy minerals are more abundant near the heads of the valleys in the plateau, it is also highly probable that both have really been derived from the plateau deposit. In the latter, especially at Sao Joao da Chapada, the minerals accompanying the diamond are scarcely worn at all ; in the terraces and the river beds they are more worn and more abundant; the terraces, therefore, are to be regarded as a first concentration of the plateau material by the old rivers; and the cascalho as a second concentration by the modern rivers. The mining is carried on by negroes under the super-vision of overseers; the cascalho is dug out in the dry season and removed to a higher level, and is afterwards washed out by hand in running water in shallow wooden basins (bateas). The terraces can be worked at all seasons, and the material is partly washed out by leading streams on to it. The washing of the plateau material is effected in reservoirs of rain water. It is difficult to obtain an estimate of the actual production of the Minas Geraes mines, for no official returns have been published, but in recent years it has certainly been rivalled by the yield in Bahia. The diamond here occurs in river gravels and sands associated with the same minerals as in Minas Geraes; since 1844 the richest mines have been worked in the Serra de Cincora, where the mountains are intersected by the river Paraguassu and its tributaries; it is said that there were as many as 20,000 miners working here in 1845, and it was estimated that 54,000 carats were produced in Bahia in 1858. The earlier workings were in the Serra de Chapada to the N.W. of the mines just mentioned. In 1901 there were about 5000 negroes employed in the Bahia mines; methods were still primitive; the cascalho was dug out from the river beds or tunnelled out from the valley side, and washed once a week in sluices of running water, where it was turned over with the hoe, and finally washed in wooden basins and picked over by hand; sometimes also the diamantiferous material is scooped out of the bed of the shallow rivers by divers, and by men working under water in caissons. It is almost exclusively in the mines of Bahia, and in particular in the Cincora district, that the valuable carbonado is found. The carbonado and the diamond have been traced to an extensive hard conglomerate which occurs in the middle of the sandstone formation. Diamonds are also mined at Salobro on the river Pardo not far inland from the port of Canavieras in the S.E. corner of Bahia. The enormous development of the South Africanmines,which supplied in 1906, about 9o%of the world's produce, has thrown into the shade the Brazilian production; but the Bulletin for Feb. 1909 of the International Bureau of American Republics gave a very confident account of its future, under improved methods. South Africa.—The first discovery was made in 1867 by Dr W. G. Atherstone, who identified as diamond a pebble obtained from a child in a farm on the banks of the Orange river and brought by a trader to Grahamstown; it was bought for £500 and displayed in the Paris Exhibition of that year. In 1869 a stone weighing 831 carats was found near the Orange river; this was purchased by the earl of Dudley for £25,000 and became famous as the " Star of South Africa." A rush of prospectors at once took place to the banks of the Orange and Vaal rivers, and resulted in considerable discoveries, so that in 1870 there was a mining camp of no less than 10,000 persons on the " River Diggings." In the River Diggings the mining was carried on in the coarse river gravels, and by the methods of the Brazilian negroes and of gold placer-miners. A diggers' committee limited the size of claims to 3o ft. square, with free access to the river bank; the gravel and sand were washed in cradles provided with screens of perforated metal, and the concentrates were sorted by hand on tables by means of an iron scraper. But towards the close of 1870 stones were found at Jagersfontein and at Dutoitspan, far from the Vaal river, and led to a second great rush of prospectors, especially to Dutoitspan, and in 1871 to what is now the Kimberley mine in the neighbourhood of the latter. At each of these spots the diamantiferous area was a roughly circular patch of considerable size, and in some occupied the position of one of those depressions or " pans " so frequent in S. Africa. These " dry diggings " were therefore at first supposed to be alluvial in origin like the river gravels; but it was soon discovered that, below the red surface soil and the underlying calcareous deposit, diamonds were also found in a layer of yellowish clay about 50 ft. thick known as " yellow ground." Below this again was a hard bluish-green serpentinous rock which was at first supposed to be barren bed-rock; but this also contained the precious stone, and has become famous, under the name of " blue ground," as the matrix of the S. African diamonds. The yellow ground is merely decomposed blue ground. In the Kimberley district five of these round patches of blue ground were found within an area little more than 3 M. in diameter; that at Kimberley occupying to acres, that at Dutoitspan 23 acres. There were soon 50,000 workers on this field, the canvas camp was replaced by a town of brick and iron surrounded by the wooden huts of the natives, and Kimberley became an important centre. It was soon found that each mine was in reality a huge vertical funnel or crater descending to an unknown' depth, and filled with diamantiferous blue ground. At first each claim was an independent pit 31 ft. square sunk into the blue ground; the diamantiferous rock was hoisted by bucket and windlass, and roadways were left across the pit to provide access to the claims. But the roadways soon fell in, and ultimately haulage from the claims could only be provided by means of a vast system of wire ropes extending from a triple staging of windlasses erected round the entire edge of the mine, which had by this time become a huge open pit; the ropes from the upper wind-lasses extended to the centre, and those from the lower tier to the sides of the pit; covering the whole mass like a gigantic cobweb. (See Plate II. fig. 12.) The buckets of blue ground were hauled up these ropes by means of horse whims, and in 1875 steam winding engines began to be employed. By this time also improved methods in the treatment of the blue ground were introduced. It was carried off in carts to open spaces, where an exposure of some weeks to the air was found to pulverize the hard rock far more efficiently than the old method of crushing with mallets. The placer-miner's cradle and rocking-trough were replaced by puddling troughs stirred by a revolving comb worked by horse power; reservoirs were constructed for the scanty water-supply, bucket elevators were introduced to carry away the tailings ; and the natives were confined in compounds. For these improvements co-operation was necessary ; the better claims, which in 1872 had risen from floc, to more than £4000 in value, began to be consolidated, and a Mining Board was introduced. In a very few years, however, the open pit mining was rendered impossible by the mud rushes, by the falls of the masses of barren rock known as " reef," which were left standing in the mine, and by landslips from the sides, so that in 1883, when the pit had reached a depth of about 400 ft., mining in the Kimberley crater had become almost impossible. By 1889, in the whole group of mines, Kimberley, Dutoitspan, De Beers and Bultfontein, open pit working was practically abandoned. Meanwhile mining below the bottom of the pits by means of shafts and underground tunnels had been commenced; but the full development of modern methods dates from the year 1889 when Cecil Rhodes and Alfred Beit, who had already secured control of the De Beers mine, acquired also the control of the Kimberley mine, and shortly afterwards consolidated the entire group in the hands of the De Beers Company. (See KIMBERLEY.) The scene of native mining was now transferred from the open pit to underground tunnels; the vast network of wire ropes (Plate II. fig. 12) with their ascending and descending buckets disappeared, and with it the cosmopolitan crowd of busy miners working like ants at the bottom of the pit. In place of all this, the visitor to Kimberley encounters at the edge of the town only a huge crater, silent and apparently deserted, with no visible sign of the great mining operations which are conducted nearly half a mile below the surface. The aspect of the Kimberley pit in 1906 is shown in fig. 13 of Plate II., which may be compared with the section of fig. 8. In fig. 13, Plate II., the sequence of the basalt, shale and melaphyre is clearly visible on the sides of the pit; and fig. 8 shows how the crater or" pipe " of blue ground has penetrated these rocks and also the underlying quartzite. The workings at De Beers had extended into the still more deeply seated granite in 1906. Figure 9, elate I., shows the top of the De Beers' crater with basalt over-lying the shale. Figure 8 also explains the modern system of mining introduced by Gardner Williams. A vertical shaft is sunk in the vicinityof the mine, and from this horizontal tunnels are driven into the pipe at different levels separated by intervals of 4oft. Through the blue ground itself on each level a series of parallel tunnels about 120 ft. apart are driven to the opposite side of the pipe, and at right angles to these, and 36 ft. apart, another series of tunnels. When the tunnels reach the side of the mine they are opened upwards and sideways so as to form a large chamber, and the overlying mass of blue ground and debris is allowed to settle down and fill up the gallery. On each level this process is carried somewhat farther back than on the level below (fig. 8) ; material is thus continually withdrawn from one side of the mine and extracted by means of the rock shaft on the opposite side, while the superincumbent debris is continually sinking, and is allowed to fall deeper on the side farthest from the shaft as the blue ground is withdrawn from beneath it. In 1905 the main shaft had been sunk to a depth of 2600 ft. at the Kimberley mine. For the extraction and treatment of the blue ground the De Beers Company in its great winding and washing plant em-ploys labour-saving machinery on a gigantic scale. The ground is transferred in trucks to the shaft where it is automatically tipped into skips holding 96 cubic ft. (six truck loads) ; these are rapidly hoisted to the surface, where their contents are automatically dumped into side-tipping trucks, and these in turn are drawn away in a continual procession by an endless wire rope along the tram lines leading to the vast " distributing floors." These are open tracts upon which the blue ground is spread out and left exposed to sun and rain until it crumbles and disintegrates, the process being hastened by harrowing with steam ploughs; this may require a period of three or six months, or even a year. The stock of blue ground on the floors at one time in 1905 was nearly 4,500,000 loads. The disintegrated ground is then brought back in the trucks and fed through perforated cylinders into the washing pans; the hard blue which has resisted disintegration on the floors, and the lumps which are too big to pass the cylindrical sieves, are crushed before going to the pans. These are shallow cylindrical troughs containing muddy water in which the diamonds and other heavy minerals (concentrates) are swept to the rim by revolving toothed arms, while the lighter stuff escapes near the centre of the pan. The concentrates are then passed over sloping tables (pulsator) and shaken to and fro under a stream of water which effects a second concentration of the heaviest material. Until recently the final separation of the diamond from the concentrates was made by hand picking, but even this has now been replaced by machinery, owing to the remarkable discovery that a greased surface will hold a diamond while allowing the other heavy minerals to pass over it. The concentrates are washed down a sloping table of corrugated iron which is smeared with grease, and it is found that practically all the diamonds adhere to the table, and the other minerals are washed away. At the large and important Premier mine in the Transvaal the Elmore process, used in British Columbia and in Wales for the separation of metallic ores, has been also introduced. In the Elmore process oil is employed td float off the materials which adhere to it. while the other materials remain in the water, the oil being separated from the water by centrifugal action. The other
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