Jagersfontein Mine

Jagersfontein Mine is an abandoned open-pit mine in South Africa located close to the town of Jagersfontein and approximately 68 miles (109 km) south-west of Bloemfontein. Since it was first established in 1888, two of the ten biggest diamonds ever discovered, the "Excelsior" and the "Reitz" (now called the "Jubilee"), were mined from Jagersfontein. The term "Jagers" has since been coined to denote the distinctive faint bluish tint of the gems from this mine.

Approximately 9.6 million carats (1,900 kg) of jewel-quality diamonds were extracted during the mine's century of operation, interrupted only by the two World Wars and the Great Depression. After three decades of open-pit mining, underground mining began in 1913, and continued until its eventual closure on May 28 1971, less than a year after the centenary of the first diamond discovery in the area. Since then, an Open Mine Museum and the Jagers Mining Village have opened as tourist attractions at the site.

Research by historian Steve Lunderstedt in 2005 confirmed that the mine was the deepest hand-excavated hole in the world, slightly larger than the Big Hole in Kimberley, South Africa which had claimed the title up to then. Jagersfontein was dug by hand to a depth of by 1911.


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