A Canadian mining company has unearthed the largest single diamond found in more than a century, and it's the second biggest ever found.
The Lucara Diamond Corporation describes the gem, pulled from a mine in Botswana, as Type IIa quality, measuring 2.6 by 2.2 by 1.6 inches, and containing an incredible 1,111 carats. It's the largest diamond ever recovered from Botswana in southern Africa.
"The significance of the recovery of a gem-quality stone larger than 1,000 carats, the largest for more than a century and the continued recovery of high quality stones from the south lobe, cannot be overstated," Lucara CEO William Lamb said in a statement.
The discovery is the largest since the famed 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond was pulled out of the ground in South Africa in 1905. That gem was eventually cut into nine major stones and 96 smaller ones, some of which found their way into the British crown jewels.
If you're wondering about the politics behind the diamond, Botswana is one of several countries that invests revenue from diamonds into the country's infrastructure — schools, hospitals and the general good of the community, according to diamondsfacts.org. Other countries include Australia, Canada, Namibia, Russia, South Africa and Tanzania.
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There's more where this diamond came from
Perhaps the most significant development for Lucara is that this huge score may only be the beginning. The company recently announced the recovery of two other massive gems — one 813 carats (the sixth largest ever discovered) and another measuring 374 carats.
While the value of these stones is dependent on a variety of factors, we do know that Lucara most recently sold a 341-carat, Type IIa quality gem in July for $20.6 million.
“We need to see how best we can actually get maximum value for the stone,” Lamb told investors on Thursday regarding the 1,111 carat score. “It’s going to take time for us to get a full understanding of the stone.”