Freebooter

Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody

Diamonds are Forever…….

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After a quick internet search for somewhere to go on a Sunday, a visit to Cullinan seemed like a good idea. The small town is situated around 25 kms East of Pretoria, so about an hour’s drive. After two abortive starts (for camera, then for petrol), we hit the highway.

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Trees to the right, explosives on the left, and miners going home after their shift in the middle.

Trees to the right, explosives on the left, and miners going home after their shift in the middle.

The name Cullinan is totally synonymous with that diamond! The one that adorns both the Queen’s crown and also her sceptre. The replicas of the uncut monster and its finished children go some way to explaining why it took the Asscher Brothers two years studying before they lifted their mallet! That must have been one seriously frightening moment…. Anyway, a tour of the mine was quite educational. Sadly it was a surface tour only, underground tours Monday-Saturday, as this was a Sunday 😦

Asscher Brothers studying the full rough before splitting commenced.

Asscher Brothers studying the full rough before splitting commenced.

The Cullinan was found under this conveyor by someone walking by....

The Cullinan was found under this conveyor by someone walking by….

The monster diamond was found only 9m from the surface, and despite now digging tunnels some 750m below, nothing of that size has been found since. In fact the closest was actually found underneath one of the outside conveyor belts! So after all the industrial process talk, amazingly visitors find themselves in the ‘factory’ shop. The displays had price tags from the merely painful to the ‘I could buy a house for that’. As if to rub it in, they had a miniature microscope to view the detail on a tiny diamond. It was nice to look at, but then Annemarie just had to check out her engagement ring……

Amazing how beautiful diamonds are when looked at through a microscope...

Amazing how beautiful diamonds are when looked at through a miroscope…

Price tags from $74,000 to $88,000!

Price tags from $74,000 to $88,000!

Aside from the mutterings around the room of ‘cheapskate’, (actually neither of the wives there said such a thing),one  lonesome elderly husband did buy a blood diamond. That is not to cast aspersions on the miners, but more of a case of preventing his blood getting spilt for a previous long holiday sans femme!

Boy, I hope his wife appreciated it!!  The glass of champagne he was given might have helped the purchase...

Boy, I hope his wife appreciated it!! The glass of champagne he was given might have helped the purchase…

Lunch was at a little café under the trees. Many of the other venues being filled with the pilots of a stunning array of supercars. Ferraris, Lambos, Porsches, Jags and some others that I did not recognise could make one feel quite underdressed. Fortunately self-esteem was restored with a high-speed cross-country thrash with an Audi R8. Our little TT is quite an animal with the loud pedal on the floor, (quietly glossing over the near miss with the feds, pulling us in at a check, but then waving us away)!

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Amazing how many trees there are throughout the plant.

Amazing how many trees there are throughout the plant.

The managers' houses from the beginning of the last century.

The managers’ houses from the beginning of the last century.

The underground tour is definitely on the list for another time.

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This entry was posted on March 19, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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