By Tim Binnall
A village in South Africa has become the site of a veritable 'diamond rush' as thousands of people have descended upon the location following the discovery of mysterious crystal-like stones that many are hoping could be precious gems. The excitement reportedly began last week in the community of KwaHlathi when a cattle herder plucked some of the curious objects from the ground. As word of his discovery spread, other residents began digging at the site and they also found the potential diamonds in the dirt, which set off a full-blown frenzy in the region. Not long after that, a massive throng of people journeyed to the village armed with shovels, pickaxes, and dreams of striking it rich.
Although authorities have cautioned that the stones are probably not diamonds, their words of warning have done little to quell the commotion nor lower the expectations of those who have flocked to the field in search of buried treasure. "They are real," declared one woman who recovered some of the rocks, "I'm going to buy a car, a house, send my kids to private school." The hysteria is undoubtedly amplified by the fact that many in South Africa are suffering under severe financial hardship which makes the prospect of unearthing diamonds something of a miraculous possibility to those who have been digging in the field. To that end, another individual looking for the stones mused "we are poor, we are unemployed, but this could change everything."
In an effort to determine the nature of the rocks removed from the field and, no doubt, put an end to the tumult, the South African government has dispatched a team of experts to the village to examine the stones. One potentially dispiriting development from the forthcoming analysis, which has already been suggested by scientists, is that it will likely reveal that, rather than diamonds, the objects are actually just quartz deposits, which are far less valuable and, sadly, will not provide the financial salvation that the treasure hunters hoped that they had found.