A new finding in Africa just made history.
On Wednesday, Lucara Diamond company announced the discovery of a massive 1,080.1 carat diamond, found at its Karowe Diamond Mine in Botswana. It measures 82.2 x 42.8 x 34.2 mm in size and is described by experts as a Type IIa top white gem of high quality. The impressive find is the fourth diamond recovered from the mine’s South Lobe since 2015. It also makes history as the seventh-largest diamond ever discovered and one of the top five largest colorless diamonds of all time, according to the Natural Diamond Council and Only Natural Diamonds.
Botswana’s Karowe mine (which is 100 percent owned by Lucara Diamond) famously produces some of the largest diamonds of all time. Roughly half of the ten largest diamonds discovered have been found at the South African site. The most comparable diamond to the new 1,080-carat rock is the 1,109 Lesedi La Rona, which was discovered in the Karowe mine in 2015. Other notable finds at the quarry include the 1,758-carat Sewelô (2019), a 1,174-carat diamond (2021).
The newly recovered diamond’s Type IIa classification places it among only one to two percent of rare diamond types. These types of gems are known to have no measurable nitrogen or boron impurities, are oftentimes colorless, and of course very high quality. Experts today believe that more diamonds of this size may have existed but were broken into smaller pieces during the recovery process. Improvements to the tech used for digs has changed over time as a result. Lucara’s latest find, for example, was recovered via the Coarse XRT unit, an X-ray technology designed to prevent stones from breaking during extraction.
Diamonds were first discovered in Botswana in the 1950s. From 1960 to 1980, the country had the fastest-growing economy in the world, primarily driven by mining. It now has the highest GDP per capita in all of continental Africa. The diamond industry accounts for 40 percent of its GSP and 90 percent of its exports. Locals benefit from these natural diamond recoveries in unique ways. Every child in Botswana is guaranteed free primary and secondary education, and contributions to environmental protection help preserve its wildlife. The sale of the new diamond could help aid in continued contributions to the country.
“Lucara is extremely pleased to be reporting the recovery of another large, high-quality gem diamond,” says Eira Thomas, the company’s CEO, in a statement. “As we progress mining deeper in the open pit and transition to underground mining, exclusively in the South Lobe, the preponderance of large, high-value stones is increasing, consistent with the resource model, and underpins the strong economic rationale for investing in the Underground expansion that will extend the mine-life out to at least 2040.” Here’s hoping more massive gems are found.