African diamonds are among the biggest in the world. Throughout the continent, diamonds of varying shapes and sizes have been discovered. Here are 10 of the biggest African diamonds every discovered.
The Cullinan diamond
At a whopping 3106.75 carats, this African diamond is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found. The white diamond was unearthed in South Africa in 1905. Today, the diamond consists of nine large stones and ninety-six smaller stones; two of the largest stones forming part of the Crown Jewels.
Lesedi La Rona
This African diamond was discovered in Botswana in 2015. It comes in at 1109 carats, making it the third largest diamond ever found, and the second largest of gem-quality. The name is Botswanan for “our light”. The diamond is believed to be 2.5 billion years old. In September 2017, it was bought by British company Graff Diamonds for $53million.
The excelsior diamond
This African diamond was found in South Africa in 1893. The blue-white tinted diamond weighs an estimated 995.20 carats. The shape of the stone was out of the ordinary: flat on one side and rose to a peak on the other, somewhat like a loaf of rye bread. Apparently this is what inspired the diamond to be named ‘Excelsior’, meaning higher.
Star of Sierra Leone
Another one of the biggest African diamonds is the star of Sierra Leone diamond, discovered in 1972. This diamond is the largest alluvial diamond ever discovered. The diamond is a colorless, lustrous and pellucid crystal, features that are so characteristic of the exceptional quality colorless diamonds found in the country. Harry Winston purchased the diamond in 1972 for $2.5 million. Diamonds of Sierra Leone have an international reputation as one of the highest gem quality diamonds in the world. The diamonds are so pure and free of inclusions, that some of them are known as “glasses”, clear, transparent and absolutely colorless.
Another one of the biggest African diamonds is the Millennium Star diamond. The Millennium Star diamond was discovered in Zaire in 1990. Originally, the diamond weighed in at 777 carats, but was cut down to 203. 04 carats. The finished diamond was unnamed until October 1999, when it was unveiled to the world, as the centerpiece of the De Beers Millennium diamond collection, by the Chairman of De Beers Nicky Oppenheimer, who christened the diamond “The Millennium Star.”
The woyie river diamond
At 770ct, the Woyie River diamond is the second biggest alluvial diamond ever found. It was discovered in 1945 in Sierra Leone, named after the river it was found in. The uncut Woyie River Diamond had a broadly lozenge shape, measuring 71 × 53 × 32 millimeters (2.8 × 2.1 × 1.3 in), with one unusually flat cleavage plane.
The golden jubilee diamond
Found in South Africa, this diamond is the largest cut and faceted diamond in the world, weighing in at 545.67 carats. The diamond is valued at 4–12 million U.S. dollars. It was cut from a 755 carat brown diamond. While various images of the diamond show it as a golden to orange color, it has been graded as a fancy yellow-brown diamond. Before being cut, it was considered to be a very ugly stone; even its name, “Unnamed Brown Diamond” was unattractive. Once it was given its unique fire rose cushion cut, it was transformed into a diamond like none other.
The jonker diamond
This diamond was discovered in South Africa in 1934. The original rough Jonker diamond which weighed 726 carats was cut into 13 pieces, and eventually transformed into 13 diamonds of which the largest diamond weighing 142.90 carats retained the name Jonker. It was an emerald-cut, D-color diamond, with 66 facets. The stone was later re-cut to eliminate some flaws and improve its brilliance. The re-cut stone, also an emerald-cut had 58 facets and weighed 125.35 carats. The Jonker I is one of the most perfectly cut diamonds in the world.
The 709 carat Peace Diamond was discovered in Sierra Leone’s eastern Kono region by a Christian pastor who gave it to the government to handle the sale. The diamond was recently sold for a massive $6.5 million to British luxury jeweler Laurence Graff. This sale, however, is different to other diamonds. “The color of this diamond is very uncertain. Laurence Graff paid more money because he believes this diamond is a special diamond because it’s going to help the poorest people in the world.” The diamond’s sale will have a big impact on society because it will go towards upliftment projects in Sierra Leone. Rapaport goes on to say that “…when you get someone like Graff interested in the social benefits, in the social responsibility, you’re opening a new world of diamond demand — demand for diamonds that make the world a better place.”
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