Hall of Fame: Erasmus Jacobs

| 2 min read

Erasmus Stephanus Jacobs was born in Hopetown, South Africa, to a family of farmers living near the Orange River in Northern Cape, South Africa. His father was Daniel Jacobs, who was born in the Netherlands and emigrated with his family to South Africa.


  • Name: Erasmus Jacobs
  • Date of Birth: 23th October 1851
  • Country of Birth: Hopetown, South Africa
  • Date of Death: 2nd May 1933 (age 81)


Erasmus Stephanus Jacobs was a 15-year-old boy when he found a shiny stone on his father’s land near Hopetown on the Orange River in 1867. After handing it to his father, who suspected it might be more than just a shiny pebble, it was entrusted to their neighbour, who passed it to a local man named John O’Reilly. O’Reilly took it to Colesberg to inquire about its value, where the acting Civil Commissioner Lorenzo Boyes, who, on seeing the stone, declared: “I believe it to be a Diamond.” The stone then changed hands several times. Sir Phillip Wodehouse, the governor of the Cape Colony, purchased it for £500. This stone that young Jacobs found came to be known as the Eureka Diamond. News of the discovery of Diamond along the Orange river spread like wildfire, and the ensuing interest led to another significant find, the 83.5-carat Star of South Africa, in 1869, triggering a major Diamond rush.

Erasmus Jacobs

Erasmus Jacobs’ initial Diamond would have been carried to the spot where he found it by erosion on the Orange River, making it (and following finds) alluvial.


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