The view from the rim of the Big Hole in Kimberley, South Africa, can only be described as spectacular (Figure 1). Both the size of that legendary kimberlite pipe and the prodigious amount of back breaking labor that went into removing some 27 million tons of dirt to extract 14.5 million carats (2722 kilos) of diamonds are powerful testaments to the timeless allure of diamonds. The Big Hole, the largest hand-dug excavation in the world (820 m deep and 1.6 km across), lies at an improbable elevation above 1100 m (3500 ft) in the heart of the great...

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