The belief in re-birth

In 1565, the Portuguese physician, Garcia ab Horto, reported that diamond mining involved much more than the washing and panning of alluvial gravels. ImageRelating the Indian belief in the 'rebirth of diamonds' from previously mined and extraded rock, he wrote that 'Large diamonds develop in the lower part of the rock or pit; small ones in the upper part. 

When the upper section of a pit is exhausted, after two years the diamonds are regenerated and, amazingly, are found to be perfed under test.' What, perhaps, was not appreciated was that the harder rock, calcretes and conglomerates needed to be carefully crushed first to reveal their contents. 

When this material is exposed to the atmosphere, nature will soften and break it up over time. Evidently, the Indians would abandon unworkable pits and return some years later, after the rock had decomposed. Around the time of ab Horto's report, Tomas Fedriani painted the earliest known representation of diamond mining. It showed rock being hammered out of great hill formations and naked miners, some with one arm tied behind their backs. No doubt, the Italian painter had heard this was necessary to reduce the chances of theft. 

Later, the French traveller, Tavernier was to prove him correct.


All historical texts above from: Een Streling Voor Het Oog, Antwerpen 1997






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