1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Jagersfontein

JAGERSFONTEIN, a town in the Orange Free State, 50 m. N.W. by rail of Springfontein on the trunk line from Cape Town to Pretoria. Pop. (1904), 5657—1293 whites and 4364 coloured persons. Jagersfontein, which occupies a pleasant situation on the open veld about 4500 ft. above the sea, owes its existence to the valuable diamond mine discovered here in 1870. The first diamond, a stone of 50 carats, was found in August of that year, and digging immediately began. The discovery a few weeks later of the much richer mines at Bultfontein and Du Toits Pan, followed by the great finds at De Beers and Colesberg Kop (Kimberley) caused Jagersfontein to be neglected for several years. Up to 1887 the claims in the mine were held by a large number of individuals, but coincident with the efforts to amalgamate the interest in the Kimberley mines a similar movement took place at Jagersfontein, and by 1893 all the claims became the property of one company, which has a working arrangement with the De Beers corporation. The mine, which is worked on the open system and has a depth of 450 ft., yields stones of very fine quality, but the annual output does not exceed in value £500,000. In 1909 a shaft 950 ft. deep was sunk with a view to working the mine on the underground system. Among the famous stones found in the mine are the “Excelsior” (weighing 971 carats, and larger than any previously discovered) and the “Jubilee” (see Diamond). The town was created a municipality in 1904.

Fourteen miles east of Jagersfontein is Boomplaats, the site of the battle fought in 1848 between the Boers under A. W. Pretorius and the British under Sir Harry Smith (see Orange Free State: History).