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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Diamond Island. Romantic Treasure Hunt

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Diamond Island. Romantic Treasure Hunt is an article published in The Leeds Mercury on 10 august 1906.

Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the shareholders of The Xema Expedition.

Diamond Island

The Leeds Mercury
(10 august 1906, p. 5)

Romantic Treasure Hunt.

Earl Fitzwilliam's Steamer Chartered.

Voyage to an Atlantic Island.

In connection with the mysterious expedition which left Gravesend the other day, on board the steamer Xema, in search of treasure, we have received the following interesting details, which throw considerable light upon the object and origin of the present voyage:—

In the first place, the expedition is not, as has been declared, bound for the Cocos Islands, but has set sail for an uninhabited island situated off the coast of South-West Africa.

The origin of the expedition came about in this way. Captain R. Jones, a trader between Cardiff and South Africa, met a Mr. Griffith, then consulting engineer to the De Beers Company, dining a visit to Cape-town in 1897.

Captain Jones showed his new acquaintance a handful of stones, which he said he had picked up on an island off the African coast. Mr. Griffith saw at a glance that the stones were worth between £10,000 and £15,000, and was naturally greatly interested in the discovery.

What, however, gave peculiar interest to the find was Mr. Griffith's assertion that the stones, though undoubtedly diamonds, had not been taken from any known mine, by reason of the difference in crystallisation. On receiving this information, Captain Jones wished immediately to charter a vessel and proceed with Mr. Griffith to the treasure island, but this Mr. Griffith was at the time unable to do, having an engagement to proceed to Tasmania.


Not long after this Captain Jones died, and left all his property to a chemist named Williams, bequeathing, however, a chart of the island, showing the latitude and longitude, to Mr. Griffith.

The latter gentleman subsequently handed over this document to a Mr. E. Kenyon Collis.

These were the main incidents preceding the formation of "The Collis Diamond Syndicate," which has recently been registered with a capital of £25,000, divided into 24,500 ordinary shares of £1 each, and 10,000 one shilling deferred shares. The directors of the company are Sir Alexander Muir Mackenzie, Capt. A. L. Hughes, Capt. F. G. Jackson (of the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition), Mr. A. Landsberg (of Hatton Garden), and Mr. A. B. Larkins, mining engineer.

The steamer Xema, which belongs to Earl Fitzwilliam, was chartered to proceed to the mysterious island, her destination, however, being kept secret, even from the members of her crew.

Amongst the leaders of the expedition, who are on board, are Mr. Kenyon Collis, Mr. Griffith, manager, and Mr. Fredk. Webb, mine manager.

The secretary of the company, which has offices in Pall Mall, is Mr. G. F. Bond.

After calling at St. Helena, the Xema will, it is believed, proceed to the neighbourhood of Walfisch Bay.