Have you ever wished for an inside peek at what it takes to find diamonds? Discovery Channel grants us access to one of the most interesting diamond hunts you can imagine with the upcoming series Diamond River Hunters (premiering on Monday 29 February at 21:00).
One of these gutsy hunters, Peter Jago, takes the time to paint a picture of what we, as viewers, can expect.
Born in South Africa and educated in Johannesburg, Peter is an entrepreneur, company director, landlord, and property developer. It's his entrepreneurial skills that encouraged him to "have a go" at looking for diamonds in the river of Lesotho.
Runtime: 43 minutes
Diamond River Hunters - Nooitgedacht Glacial Pavements - Netflix
The Nooitgedacht Glacial Pavements comprise a geological feature between Kimberley and Barkly West, South Africa, pertaining to the Palaeozoic-age Dwyka Ice Age, or Karoo Ice Age, (some 300 million years ago) where the glacially scoured (smoothed and striated) ancient bedrock (re-exposed by erosion) was used, substantially more recently, during the Later Stone Age period in the late Holocene as panels for rock engravings.
Diamond River Hunters - River of diamonds - Netflix
Along this portion of its course, the adjacent Vaal River, and earlier generations of rivers and erosion processes, have cut through and swept away a vast mass of Karoo rock and sediment, to re-expose the volcanic Andesite landscape formed 2.7 billion years ago and shaped by glacial action 300 million years ago. At one time – when the diamondiferous pipes penetrated to the surface between 120 and 90 million years ago – it is estimated that about 1 km of Karoo sediment overlay the Kimberley-Barkly West area. Diamonds were eroded out of these pipes and caught in pockets of sediment and gravels which, once discovered, changed the course of modern South African history. Since 1869, the various gravels along the Vaal River have been worked intensively for their content of high-grade alluvial diamonds. The Nooitgedacht diggings were opened in 1949 and closed in 1981. During these 32 years, a total of 80 000 diamonds were found here. The Venter Diamond, a 511-carat (102.2 g) yellow stone, was the largest. The standard size of a digger's claim was 15 x 15 metres. The diamond-bearing gravels, covered by a layer of sterile red sand, were washed by hand in simple rotary pans. The left-over concentrate of heavy material was then carefully sorted for diamonds. The search for diamonds continues along the Vaal River in the Windsorton, Barkly West and Delportshoop areas and further downstream. Diggings on Nooitgedacht itself were opened again in the late 1990s. Some small-scale diggers in the region still use pick and shovel to eke out a meagre return, but miners using heavy earth-moving equipment obtain far better results. The impacts of this on the environment and on heritage resources are not small.