Wednesday, April 22, 2009

South Kalimantan: Martapura Traditional Diamond Mining

Martapura is the capital of the Banjar regency, 36 kilometers southeast of Banjarmasin.Martapura, particularly the Cempaka district, is a well known producer of diamonds.Several mining villages exist, such as Lukaas and Sungai Tiung, lying five kilometers from Martapura.


People can be seen panning for diamonds at villages in the Cempaka district, eight kilometers from Martapura. Panners usually work in groups. Each group consists of the 16 to 18 people. The oldest person is usually named the head of the group. Before starting to work, they ask for guidance from "the expert one" the spirit of the village - so they will be led to the richest mining grounds.


First, the panners have to come to an agreement with the owner of the land, who has the right to 10 percent of the diamonds found. Then, several people are chosen to dig a hole, while others remove the soil or remove any water from the hole with buckets or with a pump. The holes are usually six to 10 meters deep. The sides are propped up with logs to prevent them from collapsing. As long as no diamonds are found, the digging continues in a horizontal direction so that tunnels are formed.


They work without schedule. It can start in the morning and continue until midnight, under the light of lanterns. Deposits are usually found at depths of 10 to 15 meters, in rocky earth layers. The dirt is taken out and washed. If diamonds are found, the head of the group must immediately be notified. The right to offer the diamond for sale belongs the group leader only.


In the past, it was strictly prohibited to talk to the person washing the gored. According to the local belief the diamonds become frightened and hide among the grains of sand. Women are strictly forbidden to step over the pits. The rough diamonds are referred to as "virgins".


South Kalimantan diamonds are classified into four types: petrous diamonds (yellow and of low quality), black diamonds (black and believed to posses mystical powers), white diamonds and pink diamonds (the best sparkling with the colors of a rainbow).
The Trisakti diamond was the most expensive diamond ever found in this region. It weighed 160 carats and belonged to the pink diamond category.
Diamonds are cut and polished in the Diamond Market of Martapura. Such places are always better known than the sites where the diamonds are found. That is why Martapura is also known as Diamond Town. There are several well known experts in diamond processing in Martapura.


Main Interest & Things to do :
Martapura Cempaka traditional Diamond Digging and Market
recommended visit time is 1 day
Traditional digging is done in the area of Cempaka and Martapura including a local markt of stones and diamonds, as one of the famoest in Indonesia.
Rainforest and traditional farming with Coconut, Pepper and rubber plantations can be found along the way
Sight seeing city tour at Banjarmasin
Jungle Trek can be done between villages


Source:www.borneotourgigant.com

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Welcome! This blog provides information and guidance for traveller who want to visit some of interested places on Kalimantan Island - Indonesia. Many traveller from all over the world are interested in visiting this island since they can enjoy beautiful places, beaches, lakes,foods, cultures and etc. Hope this blog could be your free guidance for visiting Kalimantan Island. Please enjoy....

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