As a prospective investor in the diamond mining sector, I was curious to know about the largest diamonds discovered around the world. Enjoy the sparkle of the five biggest diamonds in the world and the largest diamond in North America.
Top 5 Largest Diamonds
No.1 – The Cullinan
The largest on record was the 3,106-carat Cullinan, found near Pretoria in South Africa in 1905. It was later cut into several stones, including the First Star of Africa and the Second Star of Africa, which are part of Britain’s Crown Jewels held in the Tower of London.
“The astonishing gemstone was uncovered while passing through the initial screening process at Diavik’s recovery plant,” Dominion noted.
No. 2 – The Lesedi La Rona
In November 2015, Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond Corp. announced that it had recovered a 1,111-carat diamond – the second largest, gem-quality stone ever found in the world – from its Karowe mine in Botswana. Following a country-wide contest, the stone was named Lesedi La Rona – meaning “Our Light” in Tswana (the official language of Botswana).
Lesedi La Rona diamond was the size of a tennis ball. Initially, the stone could not be valued; due to its colossal size, it was unable to fit into conventional scanners. Lucara put the Lesedi La Rona up for sale but initially felt the price offered was too low. The miner hung onto it until September 2017 when it was sold to Graff Diamonds for $53 million or $47,777 per carat.
Graff Diamonds have now created a 302.37-ct square emerald cut diamond – the world’s largest of that particular cut. The company’s craftsmen used sophisticated software and lasers to make the initial cuts.
The rest of Lesedi La Rona became 66 exquisite satellite stones ranging in size from under a carat to more than 26 carats.
No. 3 – The Excelsior Diamond
At number 3, tipping the scales at 995 carats, the Excelsior Diamond held the title for the largest diamond ever to be found from 1893 to 1905. Originating from the Jagesfontein Mine in the Orange Free State of South Africa by a worker shoveling gravel, the G Color giant was never sold despite its significance. This was thought to be due to its massive size and quality, far surpassing what any potential buyer of the time could afford. The diamond was ultimately sent to Amsterdam in 1903, where it would be cut into 10 smaller gems.
This decision was characterized by the manager of De Beers as “the greatest tragedy of modern times in the history of famous diamonds” simply because a stone of such caliber would never live up to its potential of being a massive faceted stone. The largest product of the gemstone was known as the Excelsior I, weighing in at 69.68 carats, and sold for $2.64 million during 1996.
No. 4 – The Star of Sierra Leone
969-carat “Star of Sierra Leone” is the fourth-largest diamond in the world. Originating from the Dominico mine in 1972, this gemstone is the largest diamond to have ever been discovered in the alluvial deposits of Sierra Leone. Shortly after its discovery, the diamond was said to have been sold to Harry Winston for under $2.5 million.
From there, the gemstone was transformed into a massive 143.2 carat, emerald cut diamond, but due to an internal flaw, it was decided to recut the stone shortly after. The Star of Sierra Leone would ultimately be divided into 17 separate diamonds, 13 of which being deemed flawless. The largest resulting piece weighed 54 carats, and the 6 highest quality gems were eventually gathered to create the famous Star of Sierra Leone broach.
No. 5 – The Lesotho Legend
Finally, at number 5 we have the giant Lesotho Legend weighing in at 910 carats. To put this into perspective, the stone is about the size of 2 golf balls. This gemstone is the largest ever produced by the Letseng mine in Lesotho, but its size is not the only thing that made the diamond stand out.
When graded by the GIA, the diamond was found to be exceptional quality featuring a D Color grading (the highest grade possible for a colorless stone) and a Type IIa clarity score (meaning there is little to no nitrogen inclusions.) The Lesotho Legend went on to fetch $40 million during the March 2018 Antwerp Diamond Tender. A very respectable price was paid by Gem Diamonds Ltd. which also gave this remarkable gemstone its name.
The Largest Diamond Ever Found in North America
Canada’s Dominion Diamond Mines and Rio Tinto shocked the market in late 2018 by unveiling what is believed to be the largest diamond ever found in North America, about the size of a chicken-egg.
The 552-carat yellow gem-quality stone measures around 3cm by 5.5cm, almost three times the size of the next largest stone ever found in Canada, Dominion – which owns 40% of the mine – said in the news release.
“A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America and Canadamark diamonds overall,” the company said.
THE 552-CARAT YELLOW GEM QUALITY STONE IS ALSO ONE OF THE 30 BIGGEST DIAMONDS EVER FOUND.
The previous record for a North American diamond was also found at Diavik, located in the Northwest Territories. At 187.7 carats, the so-called “Foxfire” two billion-year-old diamond was unveiled in 2015.