A 998-carat rough diamond was discovered in Botswana in the Karowe Diamond Mine owned and operated by Lucara Diamond, a mining company that specializes in unearthing large diamonds. It could be the fourth largest gem quality diamond ever discovered.
The diamond, which measures 67x49x45mm, was recovered from a direct milling of ore sourced from an area in the open pit mine that has recently resulted in discoveries of diamonds weighing 273, 105, 83, 73, and 69 carats. Lucara announced the discovery Tuesday night.
Eira Thomas and Catherine McLeod-Seltzer who founded Lucara Diamond invested in untested equipment and technology for the Karowe mine specifically designed to unearth exceptionally large diamonds. The 998-carat diamond represents the second 500-plus carat diamond recovered from the mine in 2020. Those two diamonds are among 31 diamonds of greater than 100 carats, with 10 of those diamonds greater than 200 carats, the mine has produced this year. The two largest are the 549-carat “Sethunya,” and the most recent 998-carat discovery, which has yet to be named.
Lucara is working with HB Antwerp, a high-quality diamond cutting and polishing specialist, to evaluate the next steps in maximizing the value of the rare large stone. The two have an agreement to work together for all diamonds greater than 10.8 carats that Lucara discovers.
“To recover two 500-plus carat diamonds in 10 months along with the many other high quality diamonds across all the size ranges is a testament to the unique aspect of the resource at Karowe and the mine’s ability to recover these large and rare diamonds,” Thomas said in a statement. “Operations at Karowe have continued through 2020 and operational challenges, due to Covid-19 restrictions, have been met with professionalism by the team. We look forward to a safe finish to 2020 and continued success at Karowe as we remain focussed on strong operations to ensure maximum resource performance.”
Lucara and the Karowe mine have an unprecedented track record of unearthing exceptionally large diamonds that stretches back at least five years. The discoveries include:
* The 1,758-carat “Sewelô,” unearthed in April 2019. It is the second largest gem-quality rough diamond ever unearthed. The stone was purchased by French luxury brand, Louis Vuitton, which is working with HB Antwerp to polish and cut the diamond.
* The 1,109-carat “Lesedi La Rona,” unearthed in November 2015. It was purchased in September 2017 by renowned diamond jeweler, Laurence Graff.
The world’s largest gem-quality diamond ever unearthed is the storied 3,106-carat Cullinan found in South Africa in 1905. At the rate Lucara is finding large diamonds, it may have a shot at catching the Cullinan.