South Africa’s only emerald mine is found at Gravelotte. The Consolidated Murchison Mine is the world’s largest producer of antimony, which is used to make alloys tougher.
The name can be traced back to the battle of Gravelotte in the Franco-Prussian war (1870- 1871). Dragoon Fritz Reuter made a vow that he would become a missionary if he survived the battle. This he did, and immigrated to the Transvaal Republic where he established the Medingen station for the Berlin Missionary Society about 1 Okm north of Duiwelskloof. Later he bought a farm near here and named it Gravelotte for the battle.
The Murchison range of mountains is highly mineralized. Named for Sir Roderick Murchison, geologist and president of the Royal Geographical Society, who prospected in the region in the late 19th century. Gold was discovered in the mountains in 1870. This sparked another gold rush, this time to Leydsdorp. Minerals produced in the region: antimony; emeralds; mica; feldspar; silica and cinnabar (an ore of mercury used, as a red pigment called vermilion).