We are fascinated with diamonds, which is why enormous or highly valuable specimens make such a splash in the headlines. Today, Rio Tinto Diamonds unveiled in London a 187.7 carat gem-quality rough diamond - one of the largest ever found in Canada.
However, it was only a few weeks ago, on 19 November, that the unfeasibly large 1,111 carat Karowe AK6 rough diamond grabbed headlines around the world. And with good reason, as not since the 3,106 carat Cullinan diamond was found in 1905 in the Premier Mine in South Africa has any other stone come close in size. This makes the Karowe the second biggest gem-quality diamond known to man. Like the Cullinan, it has been graded as Type IIA - the most desirable of all white diamonds - thanks to its clarity and purity. Today, the Cullinan resides with the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.
The Karowe AK6 diamond was found in the Karowe mine in Botswana, which belongs to Lucara - a Canadian mining company. It is the first gem-quality diamond over 1,000 carats recovered in more than a century. Larger diamonds can be broken during mining, but the Karowe AK6 was extracted using Lucara’s recently installed Large Diamond Recovery machines, which minimise the damage during this crucial phase. Previous finds from this mine in Central Botswana - a prolific diamond-producing area - have included a pair of 200 carat roughs, which likely encouraged the owners to further explore the seam for large stones.
The diamond will probably be put out to tender so keep an eye out for its progress as a diamond this size is likely to continue making headlines.
The 187.7 carat Canadian diamond was unearthed at the Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northeast Territories, 220km south of the Arctic Circle, and named the Diavik Foxfire after a popular Finnish folk story that told of a fox who painted the Northern Lights in the sky with its tail.
Read more on the Diavik Diamond Mine
Rio Tinto Diamonds managing director, Jean-Marc Lieberherr, said: “We are delighted to showcase this exceptional, two billion-year-old Canadian diamond. Its ancient beginnings, together with the fortitude, finesse and innovative technology required to unearth a diamond in the challenging sub-arctic environment, make it a true miracle of nature.”
Read about Sotheby's record-breaking rough diamond
The enormous 1,111 carat Karowe AK6 rough diamond was found by mining company Lucara in the Karowe mine in Botswana on 19 November 2015.
Named the Diavik Foxfire, this 187.70 carat rough diamond - the largest ever discovered in North America - was unearthed at the Diavik mine in December 2015.
The Diavik Diamond Mine, located in the Northwest Territories of Canada, 220km south of the Arctic Circle.
This 1,111 carat Karowe AK6 diamond is the first gem-quality diamond over 1,000 carats recovered in more than a century.