Donald Haack’s life with diamonds began when, in 1955, he and his wife, Janet, moved into the uncharted jungles of British Guiana. This spectacular view (Kaieteur Falls, 741 foot drop) greeted them half-way from their home when they flew to Georgetown (on the coast of BG) for supplies.
Jan and Don built their home (not so affectionately named the “Damnedmudhut” by Jan’s father) in Marquise Valley, on the Ireng River, the border between British Guiana and Brazil.
A Wai Wai mother and her three children stand in front of their palm leaf and bamboo house. After an American registered plane crash-landed in the extreme southern tip of BG in Wai Wai Indian territory, the Wai Wai men, women, and children helped clear an airstrip which allowed Don to land his small Piper Tri Pacer and rescue the four stranded passengers.
Don’s crew of divers “commuted” to work by boat unless thy lived in the barracoun on the Haack’s compound.
Prospectors would use serukus (screens) to separate Ilminite. Tantalite indicators from the river’s gravel. These indicators identified areas ripe for alluvial mining.
The Haack’s diamond-extracting dredge. Once a site was determined to be diamond-bearing, the crew would set up the dredge to make extracting the diamonds easier.
Political and economic troubles in British Guiana in the 1960’s ended the adventurous lifestyle of the bush-pilot, diamond-hunter and began the journey that ultimately led to Donald Haack Diamonds & Fine Gems, Ltd. Daughter Julie Haack has now taken over the helm from her parents and maintains the high-quality business that demonstrates an equally high code of ethics.