A small Canadian diamond company has found what it says is the world's second-biggest gem quality diamond ever recovered — and the largest in more than a century — at its mine in Botswana.
Lucara Diamond Corp said on Wednesday the 1,111 carat stone was found at its Karowe mine in north-central Botswana, one of the world's most prolific diamond-producing areas.
The Type IIa diamond measures 65 millimeters by 56 mm by 40 mm.
Most diamonds found weigh just a few carats (1 carat is equivalent to 0.007055 oz). Two other huge rough diamonds were found in 2013, at the Karowe mine, both coming in at over 200 carats each (1.4 oz) — still dwarfed by the recent discovery.
The biggest gem-quality diamond ever found was the Cullinan diamond, a 3,106-carat stone found in the Premier mine in South Africa in 1905. The miner who found it was given 3,500 pounds, while the gem became world-famous.
It was given to Britain's King Edward VII as a birthday gift, who was so worried about its security that he arranged for a decoy to be sent on a ship accompanied by detectives while the real thing was sent in a plain box. It was later cut up, with the largest parts being mounted onto a royal scepter and crown, part of Britain's Crown Jewels.
"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, said in a statement, the CEO of Lucara Diamond, a Canadian diamond producer, said in a statement.