Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/85

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
77
EMIGRANT DIAMONDS IN AMERICA.

recently found in the clays and gravels of this region, where their distribution was such as to indicate with a degree of approximation the location of their distant ancestral home.

In order clearly to set forth the nature of this problem and the method of its solution it will be necessary, first, to plot upon a map of the lake region the locality at which each of the stones has been found, and, further, to enter upon the same map the data which geologists have gleaned regarding the work of the great ice cap of the Glacial period. During this period, not remote as geological time is reckoned, an ice mantle covered the entire north-eastern portion of our continent, and on more than one occasion it invaded for considerable distances the territory of the United States. Such a map as has been described discloses an important fact which holds the clew for the detection of the ancestral home of these diamonds. Each year is bringing with it new evidence, and we may look forward hopefully to a full solution of the problem.

In 1883 the "Eagle Stone" was brought to Milwaukee and sold for the nominal sum of one dollar. When it was submitted to competent examination the public learned that it was a diamond of sixteen carats' weight, and that it had been discovered seven years earlier in earth removed from a well-opening. Two events which were calculated to arouse local interest followed directly upon the discovery of the real nature of this gem, after which it passed out of the public notice. The woman who had parted with the gem for so inadequate a compensation brought suit against the jeweler to whom she had sold it, in order to recover its value. This curious litigation, which naturally aroused a great deal of interest, was finally carried to the Supreme Court of the State of Wisconsin, from which a decision was handed down in favor of the defendant, on the ground that he, no less than the plaintiff, had been ignorant of the value of the gem at the time of purchasing it. The other event was the "boom" of the town of Eagle as a diamond center, which, after the finding of two other diamonds with unmistakable marks of African origin upon them, ended as suddenly as it had begun, with the effect of temporarily discrediting, in the minds of geologists, the genuineness of the original "find."

Ten years later a white diamond of a little less than four carats' weight came to light in a collection of pebbles found in Oregon, Wisconsin, and brought to the writer for examination. The stones had been found by a farmer's lad while playing in a clay bank near his home. The investigation of the subject which was thereupon made brought out the fact that a third diamond, and this the largest