Botswana Produces the World’s Third-Largest Diamond

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Botswana mining operation
Botswana mining operation. (Cretep, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Jim Brace-Thompson

They say diamonds are judged by the 4Cs: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. But when a new diamond is dug up, all everyone seems to focus on is carats. And so it is with the latest big discovery out of Botswana.

Weighing in at 1,174 carats, this stone is said to be the third-largest recorded gem-quality diamond ever found. Photos of people holding it show it to be as large as a juice glass, or big enough to “fill the palm of a large hand,” per one report. Its exact dimensions, per a company press release, are 77x55x33mm.

The diamond was recovered after material mined from a kimberlite deposit went through a primary crusher, and it is believed that the original stone may have weighed in excess of 2,000 carats before the rough material entered the crusher. Why do they believe this is so? Three other diamonds with very similar characteristics were recovered at the same time weighing 471 carats, 218 carats, and 159 carats. All are believed to have been part of one stone.

The stone is a clear or “white” diamond. It was discovered on June 12, 2021, by the Lucara Botswana division of Lucara Diamond Corp. of Canada at the Karowe Diamond Mine and was subsequently presented to the Botswana government in a July 7 ceremony that included President Mokgweetsi Masisi. By July 19, the stone was residing in Antwerp, the diamond processing capital of the world, to be examined, analyzed, and valued over the next four to six months. (Preliminary estimates put the value of the stone at tens of millions of dollars.) From Antwerp, it will head to New York City as part of a world tour before the stone is ultimately cleaved into smaller cut stones. An official name for the diamond is yet to be chosen.

Botswana has eclipsed South Africa as the leading diamond producer on the African continent. In fact, it is said that Botswana alone accounts for six of the top ten raw diamonds ever discovered! By the way, this latest find follows close on the heels of the June 1 discovery of a 1,098 carat diamond by the Botswana diamond firm Debswana. Ever-so-briefly, it was the third largest diamond ever found.

For the record, the largest raw diamond ever found? That would be the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond dug up in South Africa back in 1905 and cut into pieces to join the Crown Jewels of Great Britain. The second-largest diamond? A 1,758-carat stone called the Sewelô also found in Botswana’s Karowe Diamond Mine in 2019.


Author: Jim Brace-Thompson

JimBraceThompson Jim began and oversees the AFMS Badge Program for kids and has been inducted into the National Rockhound & Lapidary Hall of Fame within their Education Category.
Contact him at jbraceth@roadrunner.com.

 


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