The fifth-largest gem quality diamond ever unearthed has been found in the Letseng mine in Lesotho, the largest ever for the company. It is a big ole rock.
The New York Times reports that the stone weighs 910 carats, or 6.4 ounces, which is roughly the size of a large chicken cutlet. Unlike a chicken cutlet, it has no nutritional value, but is potentially worth tens of millions of dollars. London-based company Gem Diamonds has a majority stake in the mine, which is situated within South Africa, though it is a separate constitutional monarchy.
Lesotho depends almost entirely upon diamond exports for its economy, and has incredibly high rates of H.I.V. infection and poverty. The United Nations has ranked it 160 out of 188 countries on its Human Development Index. On their website, Gem Diamonds claims that “consumers can be assured that our diamonds are not associated with any human rights abuses, and the greatest care has been taken in mining in a way that is environmentally responsible.” These reassurances stem from research that indicated “consumers had shown less interest than previous generations due to the negative publicity diamonds have received over the years.”
But here’s what rock is like:
It said the stone is a D color, Type IIa diamond, meaning it is colorless and very radiant, without any yellow tint or impurities like nitrogen that absorb light and decrease luster.
If you have stock in Gem Diamonds, it just jumped in value, so congrats. It’s unclear what the big diamond will be used for—in 2006, Lesotho discovered its previous record-winner, the 603-carat Lesotho Promise diamond and sold it for $12.4 million. Unbelievably, diamonds are worth more now. That seems weird when there must be far more diamonds circulating than there were 11 years ago, but okay. Economics and diamonds both seem made up to me.