As far as government announcements go, this one stung: "The tests conducted conclusively revealed that the stones discovered in the area are not diamonds." So declared an official in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, reports the BBC. The words deflated the hopes of thousands of people who've flocked to a rural village over the last two weeks after word spread that diamonds were discovered in a field. As it turns out, those "diamonds" were actually similar-looking, but relatively worthless, quartz crystals, per the Guardian. Quartz is one of the earth's most abundant minerals, notes the BBC.
The government assessment noted that the province located roughly 200 miles southeast of Johannesburg "is not in a zone where diamond occurrences are present," per Australia's ABC. The coverage in all three outlets takes note of a poignant footnote: The region where the false alarm was raised is one of the poorest in the country, and the rush to strike it rich speaks to the plight of the locals. Their situation has only worsened during the pandemic, which raised already high unemployment levels. (Read more diamonds stories.)