I feel as though I’ve written a fair number of “large rough unearthed” stories in recent months, so many, in fact, that I began to wonder: Has this been an unusually active year for finding rough diamonds that are 100 carats or larger?
The two largest, publicized finds to date in 2014 belong to Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond Corp.: a 259-carat piece of rough and a 239-carat piece of rough, both found at the company’s Karowe mine in Botswana.
These two huge finds were part of a larger haul the diamond company removed from Karowe in the second quarter, a bounty that included 13 diamonds larger than 100 carats, eight of which were gem-quality. In addition to these two 200-carat-plus diamonds, the company found two rough diamonds weighing 153 carats each and a 133-carat stone.
The third biggest gem-quality rough find of the year was a very recent one: Gem Diamonds Ltd. discovered a 198-carat “exceptional white” Type IIa rough diamond (pictured above) late last month at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, a small nation entirely enveloped within South Africa. The rarest type of diamond on earth, Type IIa’s contain no measurable nitrogen or boron impurities, and colorless Type IIa stones are known for their exceptional color and clarity.
The discovery of this 198-carat piece of rough comes in addition to Gem’s unearthing of a 162.06-carat Type IIa diamond and a 161.74-carat Type I stone earlier this year, also at Letšeng.
And, of course, I cannot omit the 122.52-carat piece of blue rough (pictured below) Petra Diamonds Ltd. pulled out of the Cullinan mine in South Africa, a stone that could set a new world record price for a rough diamond when it’s sold.
Pictures Lucara Diamonds Corp., Gem Diamonds and Petra Diamonds.