The sea floor of the South Atlantic Ocean harbors a dazzling treasure trove. Very close to the shore, between rocks, reefs, and simple pebblestones, divers fetch top-quality diamonds from the sea every day. How did these precious jewels get there?
Diamonds do not originally come from the sea. Over billions of years, gaseous carbon in the hot interior of the earth was extremely compressed until it crystallized to form diamonds. Later, volcanic activity transported these jewels to the earth’s surface in their natural state. That is why the most famous diamond mines are located in volcanic craters – although later people discovered deep sea diamonds.
The first diamonds from the sea were discovered by fishermen in the mid-20th century as they examined their nets. Before this, the precious stones were washed out of the bedrock by streams and rivers over the course of several million years. The cool Benguela Current runs parallel to the South African coast, flowing north along the west coast toward the equator. This helped to transport diamonds from the sea floor to the coast at Port Nolloth. Here, a band of sediment rich in minerals formed on the underwater banks. It is a place where many mineral resources can be found – especially deep sea diamonds.
The diamond field near Port Nolloth was discovered a young boy playing on the beach in the 1970s. He found a small, glittering stone that later turned out to be a valuable jewel and the first deep sea diamond from the region.
There are quite a lot of precious stones in clusters on the bottom of the Atlantic, waiting to be discovered. Every day, diamond divers set out to sea in their boats to find more jewels. They dive down to the sea floor and look for glassy rough diamonds between sand and gravel with a trained eye. Their main tool is a hose that reaches back to the boat. This sucks up valuable shingle from the sea floor and transports it to the boat on the surface, where precious deep sea diamonds are separated from gravel and shell material.
Whereas stories about the brutal conditions endured in diamond mines have penetrated the public conscience all over the world, “marine mining” can look back on a more peaceful history. Benguela diamonds come from the sea: their origin is obvious and they are guaranteed conflict-free – and as part of our exclusive diamond safari you can even dive for your own deep sea diamonds!
Venture out to sea with our professional diamond divers and find your own diamond. A PADI Open Water Diver certificate is all you need to scour the bottom of the shallow coastal waters for precious rough diamonds. Our diamond diver will take care of the technical work and lift your treasure back onto the boat. If you do not have a diving certificate, you can still observe how diamonds are collected from the sea and sorted on board. Choose your personal favorite stone, and your deep sea diamond will be cut, ground, polished, and transformed into a very special piece of jewelry in our Stellenbosch workshop!