The 3.27-carat gem-quality white diamond, recently discovered at the Karowe mine in north-central Botswana. It is the ninth largest rough diamond ever recovered by the mine’s owner, Lucara Diamond Corporation. (Photo courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corporation)
Just two weeks earlier, a 472-carat light brown rough diamond was uncovered at the site, which was the third largest stone ever mined by the by Vancouver-headquartered Lucara. It and this latest discovery will be offered at an exceptional-stone sale in June, alongside other stones the company has recovered since the start of 2018. Despite its smaller size, the white stone could quite possibly attract greater interest and a higher price, because of the diamond’s color quality.
But both stones pale in comparison to the 1,111-carat white, Type IIa diamond, which was discovered at the Karowe mine on November 16, 2015. It was the second largest rough diamond ever uncovered, and the largest discovered anywhere on the face of the earth in more than a century. It’s worth noting, nonetheless, that the tennis-ball size stone was still only about one-third of the size of the largest rough diamond ever mined, which was the 3,106.75-carat Cullinan diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1905.
The Lesedi La Rona, which means “Our Light” in the Tswana language, eventually was sold for $53 million to the British jewelry company, Graff Diamonds.
The 472-carat light brown diamond, discovered this year at the Karowe mine, the third largest stone ever mined by Lucara. (Photo courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corporation)
The 1,111-carat Lesedi La Rona, discovered in 2015 at Karowe, the second largest rough diamond ever mined, which sold for $53 million. (Photo courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corporation)
The Karowe mine, which originally was known as the AK6 Project, is 100-percent owned by Lucara Diamond Corporation through its Botswana subsidiary, Boteti Mining. Construction of the mine was completed in March 2012, the first sale of rough diamonds from the mine was achieved in June of that year, commercial production began a month after that, and full production capacity was reached in August 2012.
Karowe is not the only African mine with a knack for turning out exceptionally large stones. The Letšeng mine in the Maluti Mountains of the tiny Southern African Kingdom of Lesotho is renowned for its recovery of large, high quality, exceptional Type II diamonds. Just this year, so far, it has discovered seven rough diamonds that are larger than 100 carats
Amongst the diamonds recovered at Letšeng, which is owned by Gem Diamonds, is the 603-carat Lesotho Promise, the 550-carat Letšeng Star, the 493-carat Letšeng Legacy, and a 910-carat D-color white diamond that was discovered just this January that is believed to be the fifth largest rough diamond ever found.