SOUTH AFRICA: Nooitgedacht

Fifty years ago, almost any man with a shovel, a bottle of brandy and a passion to be rich could go digging for diamonds in South Africa and hope to make his fortune. Today, most diamonds are found in mines thousands of feet underground. What is left of known diamond-bearing top soil is probed by individual diggers who average between $15 and $800 a year. Last month the vast De Beers Diamond Co. threw open to prospectors 950 acres of a farm called Nooitgedacht (Never-thought-it-would-come-true), 20 miles from Kimberley, last remaining De Beers diamond grounds. Eighty-one diamond prospectors and...

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