One of the largest diamonds ever found dug up in Lesotho

By Brooks Hays  |  Jan. 15, 2018 at 2:55 PM
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Jan. 15 (UPI) -- One of the largest diamonds in history has been found at a mine in the mountains of Lesotho, a small country in southern Africa.

The diamond was found at Gem Diamonds Limited's Letšeng mine, "the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world."

According to a news release, the D color Type IIa diamond measure 910 karats and is of exceptional quality. D color Type IIa diamonds have very few nitrogen atoms, making them highly prized and expensive. The concentration of nitrogen atoms and their atomic organization affect a diamond's tint.

The newly found gem is the largest found at Letšeng and believed to be the fifth largest in the world.

"Since Gem Diamonds acquired Letšeng in 2006, the mine has produced some of the world's most remarkable diamonds, including the 603 carat Lesotho Promise, however, this exceptional top quality diamond is the largest to be mined to date and highlights the unsurpassed quality of the Letšeng mine," Clifford Elphick, CEO of Gem Diamonds, said in a news release. "This is a landmark recovery for all of Gem Diamonds' stakeholders, including our employees, shareholders and the Government of Lesotho, our partner in the Letšeng mine."

The company isn't sure how it will sell the diamond or for how much. In 2006, the mining outfit sold a 357-carat gemstone for $19.3 million.

"The pricing of diamonds is hugely variable and driven by a multitude of factors," Ben Davis, an analyst at Liberum Capital Markets, told Bloomberg. "But assuming that there are no large inclusions running through the diamond, we initially estimate a sale of $40 million."

Last year, Alrosa PJSC, a Russian mining company, found a 27.85 carat pink gem in its alluvial mines in the northwest part of Yakutia in Russia's Far East.

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