In 1908, south-west coast of Namibia plunged into „diamond fever”. People rushed into the Namib Desert hoping to make an easy fortune and within two years, a town of Kolmanskop, complete with a casino, school, hospital and exclusive residential buildings, had been established in the barren sandy desert.
The diamond-bearing gravel was screened and washed in huge recovery plants. Over 1 000 kg of diamonds were extracted before World War I. However, the amount of gemstones greatly diminished after the war. Furthermore, considerably larger diamonds were found to the south near Oranjemund, causing picturesque Kolmanskop, to become a deserted „ghost town”. Today is stands left out in the sands.
The weight unit for diamonds is called a „carat”. One carat equals approximately 0.2 grams. In Elisabeth Bay, located nearly 30 km from Kolmanskop, about 1000 carats, that is around 200 grams, of raw diamonds were extracted daily. To achieve this, many wagon loads of diamond-bearing sand and gravel had to be brought in to the recovery facilities. The material was then screened and washed in huge drums.