South Africa became famous in the 19th and 20th centuries for its copious amounts of diamonds, yet the first one found has an interesting history.
It is called the Eureka Diamond, and a boy named Erasmus Jacobs first discovered it in 1867 near Hopetown on the Orange River. Jacobs was only 15 at the time and had no idea what he had found on his farm.
He took the diamond and used it in a game called “5 Stones”, when it caught the attention of his neighbor. Erasmus’ mother, believing the stone to be worthless, gave it away to their neighbor who presented it to the Civil Commissioner who in turn declared, “I believe it to be a diamond.”
The diamond was so amazing it was presented to Queen Victoria and displayed at the 1867 Paris Exhibition. 100 years after its initial discovery, the diamond was purchased and donated back to the South African people and is currently on display at the Kimberley Mine Museum.