A giant colorless ‘white diamond’ measuring almost three inches across has been dug up by miners in the southern African country of Angola, NBC New York reported. At 404.2 carats the diamond is among the largest ever found and has been valued at around AUS $20 million or US $14 million.
According to CNN, New York diamond experts have categorized the gem as a “virtually flawless” Type IIa stone. The Gemological Institute of America classifies this type of gem – D-colored – as the rarest kind of diamond. According to Time, less than one percent of diamonds are of this quality and therefore it is also likely to be of the most valuable type. It is the largest diamond to have been discovered in Angola – which ranks fourth among the world’s diamond-producing nations – beating even the “Angolan Star”, a 217.4 carat gemstone unearthed in 2007.
The stone’s finders, a small joint Angolan and Australian enterprise by the name of the Lulo Diamond Project, say the company has additionally unearthed some 60 other “large special diamonds” since they began mining a 1,148 square-mile stretch of land in central Angola last year. The company’s shares rose 30% earlier this week after news of the discovery was made public. Speaking to CNN from Perth, Western Australia, Lucapa Mining CEO Stephen Wetherell said that diamonds of this size are very rare:
This is the twenty-seventh largest diamond in the world after some 150 years of mining.
However, as “spectacular” as this week’s find may be, it still pales in comparison to the all-time record: a 3,106 carat stone discovered in South Africa in 1905 and now viewable at the Tower of London in the UK. Weighing 1.3 pounds the “Cullinan” diamond was used to decorate the British royal family’s crown jewels.