JOHANNESBURG – A United Kingdom diamond mining company said in a statement on Monday that it had discovered a diamond weighing 910 carats (182 grams), making it the world’s fifth largest gem-quality diamond of its kind.
The British company, Gem Diamonds Ltd., said the gem was unearthed at their Letseng mining operation in Lesotho.
“This exceptional top quality diamond is the largest to be mined to date (at this site) and highlights the unsurpassed quality of the Letseng mine,” said Clifford Elphick, Gem Diamonds’ Chief Executive Officer.
The diamond, of “exceptional quality” has not been named yet, but is a rare Type IIa diamond, a coveted classification which only two percent of all diamonds achieve, is characterized by its extraordinary purity and optical transparency, the statement added.
Since Gem Diamonds acquired Letseng in 2006, the mine has produced some of the world’s most remarkable diamonds, including a 603 carat stone called the Lesotho Promise, Elphick said.
It is a D type color diamond, meaning it is icy white, completely colorless and of the highest clarity, giving this very unusual find its perfect “color.”
Lesotho’s Letseng mine is exploited by Gem Diamonds in partnership with the government of Lesotho.
The largest diamond ever discovered is the “Cullinan,” weighing 3,106.75 carats; it was discovered at the Premier No. 2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa, on Jan. 26, 1905.
The diamond was put on sale in London but remained unsold for two years until 1907 when the Transvaal Colony government bought the Cullinan and presented it to the UK’s King Edward VII on his 66th birthday.
The Cullinan produced stones of various cuts and sizes, the largest being the Cullinan I or Great Star of Africa, which at 530.4 carats is the world’s largest clearcut diamond and currently belongs to Queen Elizabeth II.