Lucara has done it again. For the fourth time in eight years, the mining company has unearthed a 1,000-carat-plus diamond at its Karowe Mine in Botswana.
Described as a Type IIa top white gem of high quality, the 1,080-carat oblong gem was recovered by Lucara’s MDR (Mega Diamond Recovery) XRT circuit, a system that uses advanced technology to identify 100-carat-plus diamonds.
By monitoring the rocky material for X-ray luminescence, atomic density and transparency, the new technology can identify and isolate large diamonds before they go through the destructive crushing process.
The newest find measures 82.2mm (3.24 in) by 42.8mm (1.69 in) by 34.2mm (1.34 in).
"Lucara is extremely pleased to be reporting the recovery of another large, high-quality gem diamond in excess of 1,000 carats in size," noted Lucara CEO Eira Thomas. "As we progress mining deeper in the open pit and transition to underground mining, exclusively in the South Lobe, the preponderance of large, high value stones is increasing, consistent with the resource model and underpins the strong economic rationale for investing in the underground expansion that will extend the mine-life out to at least 2040."
Of the top seven diamonds ever discovered, six were sourced in Botswana and five of those came from the Karowe Mine. Other notable Karowe finds include the 1,758-carat Sewelô (2019), 1,174-carat unnamed (2021), 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona (2015) and the 998-carat unnamed (2020). In 2021, Debswana’s Jwaneng mine in Botswana produced a 1,098-carat gem.
At the top of the list is the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond, which was discovered in South Africa in 1905.
Interestingly, after the Cullinan was unearthed, it took the world’s mining companies 110 years to discover another rough diamond weighing more than 1,000 carats. From 2015 to 2023, that feat has been accomplished five times due to the new technology aimed at protecting extremely large diamonds.
It's too early to tell what will become of Lucara's 1,080-carat high-quality gem, but it's fun to imagine the size of the finished diamonds that may emerge from the rough.
British jeweler Graff purchased the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona for $53 million in 2017 and eventually transformed it into one principle square emerald-cut stunner that's believed to be the largest D-flawless gem ever certified by the Gemological Institute of America. The rough gem also yielded 66 “satellite” stones ranging in size from 22 carats to just under 1 carat.
Gems cut from the Cullinan Diamond included the Cullinan I (530.20 carats), Cullinan II (317.4 carats) and seven others ranging from 94.4 carats to 4.39 carats.
Lucara owns 100% of the Karowe mine, which has been in production since 2012.
Credit: Image courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corp.