The world biggest diamond for a century named - CNBC Africa

The world biggest diamond for a century named

Southern Africa

by Chris Bishop, Managing editor, FORBES AFRICA 0

Champagne corks popped in Cape Town as a mining company unveiled the world's largest diamond for a century. Photo: Lucara

(Mining Indaba, Cape Town) Champagne corks popped in Cape Town as a mining company unveiled the world's largest diamond for a century - a stone that could have been crushed and never seen the light of day.

They call it Lesedi La Rona - our light and it could have been hidden from us all.

Lesedi La Rona could have been crushed, had the company not installed a new technology called an XDR x-ray scanner a few months before.

"It's all to do with technology and protecting the diamonds," says Gerry Ndlovu, the general manager of Karowe Mine, owned by Lucara Diamond Corp, where the diamond was found.

The 1,110 carat gem, which is the size of a tennis ball, was recovered in Botswana in November. It is the second largest in the world and the largest ever found in Botswana.

On the day the stone was found, Ndlovu was in a board meeting. He looked at his to phone to read a text telling of 1,110 carats.

"I thought it was a typing error, you know when someone puts the comma in the wrong place. I then looked again," says Ndlovu.

"The diamond is the pride and light of Botswana."

There were 11,000 entries in Botswana in a bid to name the diamond. Like the news of the find, 1,000 entries came in by text. There were so many that auditors EY were called in to audit the names.

This is not the only monster gem from Karowe Mine. It has produced 100 stones larger than 100 carats - but never one of 1,110. 

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