Africa has more top diamond-producing countries than any other continent, and it’s also the site of some of the largest gemstones ever found — some too big for the usual devices used to measure diamonds. Here are 8 of the largest diamonds ever found in Africa.
In February 2016, Angolan mining company Lucapa dug up a 404.2-carat diamond measuring 7 centimeters across — the length of a credit card. It’s valued at $14 million. New York-based diamond retailer Yehuda has categorized it a Type IIa stone, which means it’s virtually flawless. The diamond is also totally colorless which is the rarest color grade of a white diamond.
Canadian mining firm Lucara found an 813-carat diamond in Botswana in November 2015. It was purchased for $63 million from Dubai-based Nemesis International DMCC. This was a record sale for the company, which retained a 10 percent interest in the diamond so they could profit from transactions after it’s polished and cut.
In 2009, a 507-carat diamond was dug up at the famous Cullinan mine in South Africa, famous for delivering enormous diamonds. The stone is among the 20 largest diamonds ever discovered and has exceptional color. It was found very close to several other large diamonds—a 168-carat stone, a 58.5-carat stone, and a 53.3-carat stone.
In 1905, miners at Cullinan discovered a 3,106-carat diamond. At the time of discovery, this was the largest diamond ever found. The stone was presented to King Edward VII and became a part of the British crown jewels. The stone is estimated to be worth nearly $300 million. In 1985, at the same site, an even more valuable stone would be found—the Golden Jubilee, which, while smaller than the first Cullinan mega stone, had a larger polished weight.
In November 2015, a diamond was discovered in Botswana that was so large that it would not fit into conventional scanners used to determine diamond size. The diamond is called Lesedi li Rona and is a 1,109-carat rock estimated to be worth $70 million. It’s about the size of a tennis ball. Sotheby’s—who served as the auctioneer for the diamond—says this is the largest gemstone diamond in existence.
In 2014, Namibian mining company Namdeb found one of the largest diamonds ever discovered at sea—a 78-carat rock. The diamond was stolen during a strike at the company before Namdeb could even announce its discovery to the world. The diamond was still being valued when it was taken. Namdeb suggested in an interview that an employee found a way around the company’s security and took the diamond.
In 2014 a 153-carat diamond was found in the Kono district of Sierra Leone. The diamond broke this century’s record for giant diamonds in the country—a 125-carat diamond was found in Sierra Leone in 2013. Diamond analysts say that the diamond has almost no yellow tint and is very clear, which adds to its value.
In 2008 miners of Lesotho Gem Diamonds found a white 500-carat diamond in the Letseng Mine. It had very few inclusions, a rare color and was valued at $12 million before being cut up. Four of the world’s 20 largest diamonds were found at Letseng.
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