George Vitt’s Analysis

    Estimating the average diamond yield of the property in the past, Vitt interpreted Fuller’s conclusions in the comprehensive report of 1931 as 0.142 carat per load for “surface” material; 0.100, for “mixed ground and breccia”; and 0.070, for “deep ground.”  Vitt’s comments about production demonstrate that he failed to fully grasp the distinctions between surface material and the underlying matrix.[1]  At the same time, he readily assumed that the methods and equipment used in previous tests were consistently faulty, and believed Fuller’s data showed that a varying efficiency of processing determined fluctuating yields.  The natural placement of diamond-bearing material in the pipe was secondary at best.[2]

    Going far beyond available data, Vitt compensated for the modest average yields by rating the property an exceptional source of gem-quality diamonds.  “Arkansas diamond production runs 54% gems and 46% industrials,” he said.[3]  The report indicates he reached that conclusion by reading a recent statement by Schenck & Van Haelen of New York.[4]  Of course that diamond firm was describing items it had received from the Pike County field, which tended to be gem quality rather than industrial.  Schenck and Van Haelen offered its own estimate in a later statement solicited by Blick’s company:  80% industrial, “the balance being largely gems.”[5]  Even that ran slightly higher than the average cited by the Millars and others in the past, about 10% gem quality.

    George Vitt’s final recommendation lacked the assertiveness of previous reports on the property, and seemed only moderately optimistic.  “Simplicity, favorable structure and adequate amount of soft ore being the keynote in the picture, all above aims [Vitt’s proposed testing program] can be reasonably achieved, as suggested by Washington and Fuller long ago, provided the diamond content is sufficient.  The latter point has already been sufficiently demonstrated with less hazard before you, than in many other mining prospects.” [6]



[1] Ibid., 19.  Notice Vitt’s comment on page 18 about a supposed conflict between yields on the ADC property in “1925” and in “1919.”  He was referring to Fuller’s comprehensive report of 1931, but misread it:  the big test of the undisturbed peridotite in 1919-1925 (Vitt read as “1919”) was clearly described as “Peridotite,” while the later test (which he says was of “identical ground”) was labeled “Surface and Peridotite (“Reports and Information,” 36).


[2] Fuller’s statistics supposedly showed “diamond content per load varied very greatly not so much from place to place or with depth of excavation, as from period to period” as a result of varying “efficiency of recovery during working operations” (ibid., 18; Vitt’s underscoring).


[3] Ibid. 17, 21.


[4] Ibid., 16-17.


[5] Schenck & Van Haelen, two-page letter to George O. Scarfe, Facilities Review Committee, War Production Board, Washington, D.C.; copy to North American Diamond Corporation, February 1, 1943 (with Vitt’s reports, Parks and Tourism files, Little Rock; on microfilm).


[6] Ibid., 23-24.


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