One of the world’s largest diamonds has been unearthed in Botswana, the country’s government has announced.
The 1,098-carat stone, believed to be the third largest “gem-quality” diamond ever found, was presented to President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday.
The discovery was made earlier this month at the Jwaneng mine, around 75 miles from the country’s capital, Gaborone.
The mine is operated by Debswana, a diamond company jointly owned by Botswana’s government and the De Beers Group, according to its official website.
An official government Twitter account wrote that “proceeds from the diamond will be used to advance national development in the country.”
“Debswana should use this latest discovery as an inflection point, for the mine to use its technology to realize more of these large discoveries,” it added.
Masisi’s office also posted a series of pictures showing the diamond being presenting to the president and his cabinet.
Officially opened in 1982, the Jwaneng mine usually yields between 12.5 million and 15 million carats of diamonds a year, according to Debswana. This month’s find is the largest gem unearthed by the company since diamonds were first discovered in Botswana in 1967, the government said.
At present, the largest diamond ever recorded is the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond, found in South Africa in 1905. The Cullinan was subsequently cut into smaller stones, some of which form part of British royal family’s crown jewels.
The second largest discovery is believed to be the Lesedi La Rona, a 1,109-carat stone found by Canadian firm Lucara Diamond at the Karowe mine, also in Botswana, in 2015. The diamond was sold to luxury jeweler Graff for $53 million two years later.
Rough diamonds are usually classified as being gem-quality, near-gem or industrial-quality, depending on their color, clarity, size and shape.
So while another, even larger diamond was found in Botswana in 2019 — a 1,758-carat stone dubbed Sewelô — experts said it could not be considered entirely gem-quality. The stone was purchased by French luxury brand Louis Vuitton in 2020 for an undisclosed sum.
Speaking to CNN at the time of Sewelô’s discovery, Rob Bates, a blogger on the diamond and jewelry industries, told CNN that only “a handful” of companies in the world know how to “economically cut” such large rough diamonds.
“But it’s always an exciting moment when a mine coughs up a huge stone like that,” he said. “It’s good for the business, good for the country of Botswana.”
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