Huge diamond could set record
Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Miners in Lesotho have found one of the world's largest diamonds, a near-flawless white gem close to 500 carats, mining group Gem Diamonds said yesterday.

The diamond was discovered in the Letseng mine on September 8, the company said. It has been analysed by experts in Antwerp and found to be 478 carats, with outstanding colour and clarity.
"It has the potential to yield one of the largest, flawless D colour round polished diamonds in history," the company said.
Letseng is one of the most productive mines in history. Four of the world's 20 largest rough diamonds have been found at the mine, including the three largest found this century.
Before it is cut into gems it is hard to value the diamond, but Gem Diamonds said a similar weight stone with lesser-quality colour and clarity had recently sold for $12m (£6.5m).
"Preliminary examination of this remarkable diamond indicates that it will yield a record breaking polished stone of the very best colour and clarity," said Clifford Elphick, the chief executive of Gem Diamonds.
Monyane Moleleki, the minister for natural resources in Lesotho, an impoverished mountain kingdom in southern Africa, said: "Once again Letseng has proved its ability to produce extraordinary diamonds."
Letseng is 70% owned by Gem Diamonds and 30% by the government of Lesotho.
The world's largest diamond is the Cullinan, discovered in South Africa in 1905. It had 3,106.75 carats before it was cut into more than one hundred separate gems, many of which are part of the British crown jewels.

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