Kimberly, founded in 1870, was perhaps the most famous diamond mining town in history, resting at an elevation of 4000 feet in central South Africa. The town, which started as a mining camp, was named after Lord Kimberly, the Secretary of State for the colonies, for his influence in getting the mines put under British protection in 1871. Also in 1888 Cecil Rhodes organized a trust in which the Kimberly mines were placed. In 1914, the Colesberg Kopje Kimberly Mine was closed down after producing approximately three tons of diamonds. This gigantic opening in the earth has been nick named The Big Hole. Surrounding mines included the Wesselton and Premier, which are still producing diamonds today. The Premier mine was the location of the discovery of the famous Cullinan diamond, which weighed 3,106 carats and was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the prospector who opened the mine.
Alluvial mining was also very successful in S. Africa, including large finds around the Alexander Bay and the Orange River. These sites were discovered in 1926 by German geologists. Today they are known as the State Diggings.
Of course, South Africa is not the only place on the African continent that produces diamonds. Many other countries such as Botswana, Angola, the Belgian Congo, Zaire, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Lesotho, Liberia, Tanzania, and the Ivory Coast are still mining diamonds successfully today. Other diamond-producing countries include the former U.S.S.R., Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, India, Indonesia and Canada. The U.S. produces very small amounts of mostly industrial grade