VANCOUVER — Now that's some bling.
A Vancouver-based mining company says it has unearthed the second-largest gem quality diamond ever, and the largest discovered in over a century, at its Karowe Mine in Botswana.
Lucara Diamond Corp. (TSX:LUC) says it recovered a 1,111-carat diamond measuring 65 millimetres by 56 mm by 40 mm - a rock weighing half a pound that's a little smaller than a tennis ball.
Only the Cullinan diamond, weighing 3,106 carats - close to 1 1/2 pounds - and measuring over 10 centimetres in length, beats the diamond found by Lucara.
The Cullinan diamond, discovered in 1905 in South Africa, was eventually cut into smaller diamonds with pieces incorporated into the British royal crown and sovereign's sceptre.
Lucara says it's too early to say how much its diamond could be worth given its exceptional size, which it says is more than double that of any stone sold by a public company on record.
"So to put a value on the stone is really not possible," said company president and chief executive William Lamb said on a conference call Thursday.
In July, Lucara did sell a 341.9-carat diamond of similar clarity and colour for US$20.55 million.
Lamb said the company isn't desperate to sell the gem, which it found Monday, and will be looking at ways of getting the best value from it. The company is still trying to analyze the gem, though it said it is a Type IIa diamond, meaning it contains no measurable impurities.
Lucara also announced Thursday that it has recovered an 813-carat diamond and a 374-carat diamond from the Karowe mine this week.
"I am truly at a loss for words,'' Lamb said in a statement. "This has been an amazing week for Lucara with the recovery of the second largest and also the sixth largest gem quality diamonds ever mined."