Hopetown located in the Northern Cape, has a very interesting history. Hopetown were founded in the 1850, as a northern frontier town, by Sir Harry Smith and populated by a few settlers who claimed land at a natural ford over the Orange River.
Hopetown was named after William Hope (Auditor-general and Secretary of the Cape Colony Government at the time).
The first diamond that was discovered in South Africa was found in Hopetown. A 15 year old boy Erasmus Jacobus were found playing with a stone by a neighbour Schalk van Niekerk that suspected it could be a diamond. It was the 23.25 carat EUREKA.
Soon after the discovery of the Eureka the 83.5 carat Star of Africa was found nearby. It was the discovery of the second diamond which started the South African Diamond Rush. The diamond was so amazing it was presented to Queen Victoria. 100 Years after its initial discovery, the diamond was purchased and donated back to the South African people.
No one exactly new where the diamond came from. It was thought to be an isolated specimen carried to the area in the crop of a wild ostrich.
In 1868, a Griqua witch doctor, picked up a similar stone on the farm Zandfontein. When it were tested, it was found to be an 83.5 carat diamond. The diamond were sold to the Lilienfeld Brothers for 11 000 pounds. They in turn sold it to the Earl of Dudley for 30 000 pounds and the Diamond Rush to South Africa started.
Hopetown suddenly lived up to its name. Fortune hunters poured down the diamond way and into the little village. They did not simply stop there as it seemed almost every day new finds were happening resulting in a tremendous diamond fever. The trail led steadily northwards and ended at colesberg koppie in Kimberly.