Diamond expert withdraws from verification process

President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses Ernest Blom has withdrawn from the verification process of a “7 000-carat diamond” found in the North West in August.

“I withdraw from the process completely and disassociate myself from any further press statements made by anyone but myself,” Blom said on Friday in a statement.

Blom has—over the past weeks - met with Brett Jolly and Jonathan Black, the owners of the property on which the diamond has been found.

He has also met with Andre Harding, one of the miners who had found the stone.

From the outset he said he had informed the parties that before he subjected the stone to a verification process, he needed to be satisfied with its providence—including all the statutory documentation.

On September 6, Blom agreed to become sole spokesperson for the owner of the diamond—Theuns Botha—to whom he was never introduced.

He asked for two documents, namely a power of attorney from Botha, stating that Harding represented him, as well as Botha’s mining permit.

Blom said he has never received the documents.

“Furthermore, I was advised by a journalist that a replica of the ‘diamond’ was shown to her by Mr Harding, which he tried to pass off as the real one.”

Blom told the South African Press Association that the journalist had shown him a digital high resolution photograph of the stone and he could tell from the image that it was not a diamond.

The journalist had also performed a preliminary test on the stone and it turned out negative.

While Blom is of the opinion that the “diamond” may exist, he suspected that “something is afoot”.

“Why all this happened is beyond me,” he said, claiming that he had been inadvertently drawn into what he called “a time-consuming process”.

“As a matter of course I will be taking legal advice on this matter,” he said.—Sapa

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