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World’s second-largest diamond found in Botswana

A picture from the Lucara Diamond Corporation of the 1,111 carat gem. ©AFP

A mining company operating in Botswana says it has unearthed the second-largest diamond ever found. 

At 1,111 carats, the rock is slightly smaller than a tennis ball, weighing nearly half a pound (227 grams).

The gem, mined by the Canadian-based Lucara Diamond Corp, is only second in size to the Cullinan diamond which was unearthed in South Africa in 1905.

The high-quality gemstone is a Type IIa diamond, which means that it contains no measurable nitrogen impurities, rendering it almost completely transparent.

It is the largest of its kind to ever be found in Botswana which is the world's second biggest diamond producer.

The gem is also the largest diamond to be discovered anywhere in the world in more than 100 years.

Cullinan was cut into about 100 pieces in 1908, and the largest of these is about 530 carats -- about half the size of the newly unearthed Botswana diamond.

That stone is mounted in the British Sovereign's Royal Scepter, which is on display at the Tower of London.

Two other huge white diamonds — 813 carats and 374 carats — were also recently found at the Lucara Diamond Corp's Karowe mine in Botswana.

The new stone is yet to be evaluated. However, a much smaller, 341.9-carat diamond recovered in Lucara's mine sold for $20.6 million in July, according to Bloomberg Business. 

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