Miners in Lesotho, a kingdom in southern Africa, found one of the world’s largest diamonds, a near-perfect gem weighing nearly 500 carats, said mining group Gem Diamonds on Sunday. The diamond, which has not been named yet, was discovered on September 8 and was then analyzed by experts in Antwerp, who found it to weigh 478 carats, with very few inclusions and of outstanding color and clarity.”It has the potential to yield one of the largest flawless D color round polished diamonds in history,” the company said in a statement. The Letseng Mine, where this stone was extracted from the earth, has also yielded four of the world’s 20 largest rough diamonds, including three that have been found in this century. The value of this diamond is hard to estimate because it hasn’t been cut into smaller gems. But a similar weight stone with lesser-quality color and clarity had recently sold for $12 million, said a Gem Diamonds spokesperson. I wonder how much of those millions will actually benefit the economy and people of Lesotho.
As stated above, this diamond, weighing in at nearly 500 carats, is not the most impressive diamond to be mined. After the jump check out ten of the world’s most famous diamonds. [AOL News]
- Cullinan Diamond: Found in 1905 at the Premier Mine in Transvaal, South Africa, the Cullinan Diamond is the world’s largest diamond, weighing 3,106 carats in the rough. The Transvaal government purchased the colorless stone and presented it to Britain’s reigning monarch at the time, King Edward VII, in 1907. It was then cut into nine large stones and about 100 smaller ones by I.J. Asscher and Company of Amsterdam. All the flawless stones cut from the Cullinan are now part of the British regalia.
- Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa: At just more than 530 carats, the Cullinan I is the largest gem cut from the Cullinan diamond. This pear-shaped gem is set in the English scepter.
- Cullinan II: This the second largest gem cut from the Cullinan. At 317 carats, it is the most valuable stone in the British imperial state crown. Sometimes it is called the Second Star of Africa.
- Tiffany Yellow Diamond: When it was discovered in 1878 in the Kimberley mine in South Africa, this diamond weighed 287.42 carats in the rough form. After New York jeweler Charles Tiffany purchased the stone, it was reduced from 287 carats to its current size of 128.54 carats. It is the largest yellow diamond ever discovered. Only two women, one being Audrey Hepburn, are known to have worn this yellow diamond.
- Golden Jubilee Diamond: When it was discovered in 1985, the large brown diamond weighed 755 carats, but was later cut down to 545.67 carats. The stone was also found in the Premier Mine in South Africa. Initially, it was considered an ugly duckling and was supposed to be used to test special tools and cutting methods developed for use on the flawless, colorless Centenary diamond. Surprisingly, once the Golden Jubilee was cut, it outweighed the Cullinan I by 15.37 carats.
- Centenary: This stone was discovered by the Premier Mine in 1986 and originally weighed 599 carats in the rough. It was cut down to 273.85 carats and is the third largest diamond ever extracted from the Premier Mine. It was named the Centenary Diamond when it was presented in the rough for the Centennial Celebration of De Beers Consolidated Mines in 1988.
- The Lesotho Promise: This diamond weighed 603 carats when it was discovered at the Letseng Mine in Lesotho in August 2006. A couple of months later it was sold at auction in Antwerp for $12.4 million to the South African Diamond Corporation, which expects to sell the diamond for more than $20 million after cutting. The largest gem cut from the original stone is a 75 carat pear-shaped diamond. This gem and 25 others were cut from The Lesotho Promise, totaling 224 carats.
- Letseng Legacy: This stone was also unearthed at the Letseng Mine in 2007, and was named to reflect the legacy of that mine, which has produced a few significant diamonds in its history. The stone weighed 493 carats and is the 18th largest diamond ever found.
- Hope Diamond: The Hope Diamond was cut from the Tavierner Blue, which was mined from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India. The gem is a large 45.52 carat blue diamond and is housed at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. Legend has it that anyone who wears this stone will be cursed.
- Koh-i-Noor: This “Mountain of Light” diamond weighs 105 carats and was once the largest known diamond. Like the Hope Diamond, it was discovered in Golconda, India, and Mughal and Persian rulers fought over it at various points in history, but it was eventually seized as a spoil of war by the British. It became part of the British Crown Jewels when British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli proclaimed Queen Victoria Empress of India in 1877. It is said to bring misfortune and death to any male wearer or owner. Conversely, it will bring luck to all female owners.