CHAPTER I PRELIMINARY
ROM the earliest times the diamond lias fascinated mankind. It has been a perennial puzzle one of the " riddles of the painful earth." It is recorded in Sprafs History of the Royal Society (1667) that among the questions sent by order of the Society to Sir Philiberto Vernatti, Resident in Batavia, was one inquiring " Whether Diamonds grow again after three or four years in the same places where they have been digged out ? " The answer sent back was, " Never, or at least as the memory of man can attain to."
In a lecture " On Diamonds," fifty years ago,* Professor Maskelyne said, " The dia-
* Chemical News, Vol. I, p. 208.