cost of living' in South Africa, It
has been calculated that from the increased revenue for diamonds cut in
South Africa wages only about twice those obtained in Holland and
Belgium could be paid for cutting, while the cost of living is at
least three times as high. No company mining diamonds in South Africa
obtains £1 per carat for its stones, and consequently no
company could afford to pay such an export tax. Of course the cutting
would have to be done chiefly by artisans from abroad for some time to
come, since it takes five years in Europe for an apprentice to become
anything like an expert cutter, and the wholly uninitiated class in
South Africa could not be drilled quickly. A later report'' announces that an association has formed for the object of establishing a permanent diamond-cutting industry in Cape Colony.
has been considerable unrest among the diamond cutters in New York and
in Europe. The labor unions have demanded increased pay and shorter
hours in both countries. An agreement was reached early in the present
year (1907) between the diamond manufacturers of America and the
Diamond Workers' Protective Union, to last until May 1, 1908. There was
about a 10 per cent increase in wages in all departments, affecting the
400 employees in New York. The new scale of wages provides from $30 to
$65 per week for polishers, $43 to $90 for cutters, and $35 to $48 for
setters. More diamond cutters are coming from Antwerp on account of the
higher pay in this country. If wages are raised in Europe to hold the
cutters there, the manufacturers in this country will be able to
compete with those abroad in cutting still smaller stones instead of
those only of one-half carat or more, as at present.
diamond markets were very strong throughout the year, even with the
increase of 7 per cent on the rough material, and the demand seems to
have been in excess of the supply. Several large purchasers of diamonds
have reported great difficulty in securing all the stones, of the
desired quality, needed to meet their requirements. It seems likely
that the scarcity of large stones and material in general and the
increased pay demanded by the diamond cutters may bring about still
another increase in the price of diamonds.
opinion has been expressed that there would be employment for nearly
four times as many diamond workers in New York as at present if the
manufacturers would cut stones of smaller size and of less desirable
quality. This ought to be possible, since it is said that the 10 per
cent duty on cut stones over the rough material gives the American
'manufacturer a fair margin over the extra cost of labor in New York.
use of a carat consisting of 200 milligrams in place of one of about
205 milligrams for weighing diamonds and precious stones was proposed
by C. E. Guillaumec of Sevres. This is called the "metric
carat" and is intended to simplify the change from an ordinary system
of measures to that used in weighing gems. The "'metric carat" has been
approved by the International Committee of Weights and Measures, and
some progress has been made in its use.
((•'The diamond-cutting industry," by a student of facts: Mining Journal (London), January 19, 1907. '-.lew. Cii'c. Weekly. May •£>, 1907. '• Idem, November 7, J90ti.