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What Will Happen to the Largest Diamond to Be Found in a Century?

The biggest diamond to crop up in 100 years has made big news—and big money. But where will it end up?

The final resting place for a diamond the size of your fist is not where you'd expect.

At a whopping 1,111 carats, the largest diamond discovered in over a century was found in Botswana this week. The rock measures 65mm x 56mm x 40mm, about the size of a tennis ball.

The stone was found in Karowe mine, which is 300 miles north of the country's capital, Gaborone. Two other large diamonds, 813 carats and 374 carats each, were found in the same mine. The findings added $150 million to the value of the company that owns the mine this week, Lucara Diamond.


"The significance of the recovery of a gem quality stone larger than 1,000 carats, the largest for more than a century… cannot be overstated," William Lamb, the CEO of Lucara, said in a statement.

Already, administrators are deciding on what to do next with the massive diamond. Lucara announced that the rock was too big to fit inside their in-house scanner, so first thing's first: it's being sent for analysis to Antwerp, Belgium, home of a world-famous diamond district and one of the most popular places for diamond trading.

Normally when massive diamonds like this are found, they don't stay whole for long. As diamonds are the hardest substance on Earth, only a diamond can cut another diamond. The rock will likely be cut using another rock, as well as a fine saw coated in diamond dust, and shaped into smaller (though relatively still enormous) diamonds, and those will be sold individually.

This process is done even with the largest and most famous of gems. The recently-found diamond is second only to the Cullinan diamond, the 3,106-carat gem unearthed in South Africa in 1905. The rock was cut into nine large stones and 96 smaller ones. Pieces of the diamond are now embedded in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

It's not clear yet how the Botswana diamond will be cut, or what it will sell for. But judging from previous sales, it could go for as much as $66.9 million. All that, just for a chunk ofreally old carbon.