Special Report

The 15 Biggest Diamonds Ever Discovered

Source: Courtesy of Debswana Diamond Company via Facebook

5. Unnamed diamond
> Weight: 1,098 carats (7.7 oz)
> Mine found: Jwaneng Mine, Botswana
> When: 2021

This is one of the most recent major diamond discoveries. Miners at the Jwaneng Mine unearthed a 1,098-carat stone that was presented to President Mokgweetsi Masisi by the Debswana Diamond Co., the mining company jointly owned by the Botswanan government and the De Beers Group. (Diamonds were first discovered in Botswana in 1967 and Debswana was formed in 1969.) The diamond’s discovery is an economic shot in the arm for Botswana, whose economy has been reeling from the impact of the pandemic. Diamonds account for about two-thirds of Botswana’s export earnings.

Source: Courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corp.

4. Lesedi La Rona
> Weight: 1,109 carats (7.8 oz)
> Mine found: Karowe Mine, Botswana
> When: 2015

Another major find from Botswana’s Karowe Mineis this 1,109-carat rough diamond. Botswana conducted a nationwide naming contest and the winning entry was Lesedi La Rona, which means “our light” in Tswana, the official language of Botswana. It sold for $53 million in September 2017 to Graff Diamonds. The diamond, the size of a tennis ball, was too large for Graff’s equipment, so a scanner was custom built with new imaging software. Graff eventually cut a 302.37-carat square emerald cut diamond – the world’s largest square emerald-cut diamond. The diamond is the largest ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America as being of highest color, D, and highest clarity. The stone also produced 66 smaller diamonds. Fragments from the cutting of the stone were donated to the Smithsonian Institute for research into the Earth’s crust.

Source: Courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corp.

3. Unnamed diamond
> Weight: 1,174 carats (8.3 oz)
> Mine found: Karowe Mine, Botswana
> When: 2021

A 1,174-carat diamond was found at the Karowe Mine in Botswana in July 2021, just weeks after another 1,000-carat plus diamond had been discovered in the African nation. The rare find was presented to the government in a ceremony attended by President Mokgweetsi Masisi. It is the third diamond of more than 1,000 carats found at the site. Lucara Diamond Corp., the Canadian mining company that unearthed the gem, said in a press release that the diamond will be made into “valuable collections of top color polished diamonds.”

Source: Courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corp.

2. Sewelô Diamond
> Weight: 1,758 carats (12.4 oz)
> Mine found: Karowe Mine, Botswana
> When: 2019

This is the largest of the five diamonds on our list to be unearthed at the Karowe Mine in Botswana, at 1,758 carats. Diamond experts are divided on whether it should be on lists like this one because it has been described as “near gem of variable quality.” That means that only parts of the diamond are transparent enough to slice into gems. Because of this, it’s worth a fraction of the value of a gem-quality rough diamond of the same size. The French luxury brand Louis Vuitton bought the stone.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1. Cullinan Diamond
> Weight: 3,106 carats (21.9 oz)
> Mine found: Premier Mine, Cullinan, South Africa
> When: 1905

Frederick Wells, superintendent of the Premier Mine, near Pretoria in Transvaal, found this huge diamond crystal near the surface of the mining pit. At first he didn’t think it could be a diamond. The Cullinan, named after mine owner Thomas Cullinan, was given to King Edward VII of England by the Transvaal government as a pledge of loyalty. It was sent to Amsterdam, where famed diamond cutter Joseph Asscher cleaved it into individual diamonds. Many of these are part of the Crown Jewels of England and displayed in the Tower of London.

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