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Lesotho Unearths 478 Carat Diamond

September 23, 2008 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

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Gem Diamonds said yesterday that it had recovered a 478-carat diamond from its mine in Lesotho – the 20th-largest rough diamond yet found. The gem had the potential to become one of the largest round-cut diamonds in the world.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the gem was discovered on September 8 at the Letseng mine in Lesotho, a small kingdom inside South Africa. The mine, which was owned by De Beers for many years, has already produced three of the world’s biggest diamonds. These are the 603-carat Lesotho Promise, the 493-carat Leteng Legacy and the 601-carat Lesotho Brown.

Clifford Elphick, Gem Diamonds’ chief executive, said: “Preliminary examination of this remarkable diamond indicates that it will yield a record-breaking polished stone of the very best colour and clarity.” The diamond, which has not yet been named, has the potential to yield a 150-carat polished stone. That would dwarf the 105-carat round-cut Koh-i-Noor diamond seized by Britain from India in the 19th century and now part of the Crown Jewels. It would still only be a fraction of the size, however, of the Cullinan diamond, which was discovered in 1905.

This huge gemstone was 3,106 carats when recovered and yielded a teardrop-shaped diamond of 530 carats – the Great Star of Africa. The Letseng mine is owned by a mining company that is 70pc-owned by Gem Diamonds, with the remaining 30pc held by the Lesotho government. Mr Elphick added: “Letseng continues to reward its shareholders with the production of these significant diamonds and to confirm its position as one of the great mines in the diamond industry.

“With a further 45 years of life remaining, we expect Letseng to make history for many years to come.”

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