Diamonds have long been the world's most precious gemstones, admired universally for their strength and beauty. And while the stone in your engagement ring or diamond necklace may be millions of years old, the odds are that it was recovered fairly recently from the depths of the earth in an African diamond mine.
Since diamonds were discovered near Kimberley, South Africa, in 1867, diamond mining has been one of sub-Saharan Africa's most lucrative industries. Today, approximately 65 percent of the diamonds mined each year across the world originate in Africa. Recently, there have been several big finds of large, rare diamonds in South Africa, Angola and Sierra Leone.
Rare blue diamond discovered in South Africa
An enormous, rare 29.6-carat blue diamond was found by Petra Diamonds at the famed Cullinan mine, which lies about 25 miles outside Pretoria.
According to the mining company, "the stone is an outstanding vivid blue with extraordinary saturation, tone and clarity." This isn't the first large blue diamond recently found in the Cullinan mine; just last year, Petra discovered a 25.5-carat blue diamond, which eventually sold for nearly $17 million.
The world's most important source of coveted blue diamonds, the Cullinan mine has produced hundreds of large stones over the years. In fact, the largest rough, gem-quality diamond ever discovered was found there in 1905. The 3,106-carat stone was given to British king Edward VII who had it cut into several stones, two of which now form part of the British crown jewels.
125-carat diamond found in Sierra Leone
A local miner discovered a high-quality 125-carat diamond in Sierra Leone's mining district of Kono. After passing through customs, the diamond was exported and sold at auction for $818,000.
According to a press release from the agency that regulates mining and mineral exports in Sierra Leone, "what makes the diamond exceptional is the fact that it is very rare for a diamond above 100 carats to maintain its original shape and to be without any crack or inclusions or impurities as was the case of this rare gem."
While some diamonds are still smuggled out of the West African nation, the gem was the largest diamond to be exported through official channels since 2009.
95-carat diamond unearthed in Angola
The Lucapa Diamond Company recovered a 95.45-carat diamond from its Lulo diamond concession, a nearly 1,200 square-mile area that lies within Angola's Lunda Norte Province. It's the second largest diamond ever found at Lulo, and it has been classified as type IIa, which means that the stone is of exquisite quality and almost or entirely devoid of impurities.
"It is remarkable that we are continuing to find diamonds of this size and value in such relatively small bulk samples at Lulo," said Miles Kennedy, the managing director of the Australian-based mining company. The mining company is still in the process of cleaning the diamond to determine its color classification.
If you'd like to learn more about diamonds or are interested in buying -- or selling -- a diamond, come see the experts at Bellevue Rare Coins in Bellevue and Lynnwood.
Bellevue Rare Coins specializes in gold buying and dealing in rare coins. We are a family-owned business located in Bellevue and Lynnwood. We also buy and sell gold, silver, diamonds, currency and jewelry. Visit us first for a free evaluation.
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Bellevue Rare Coins Located at 10541 NE 4th St, Bellevue, WA. Phone: 425-454-1283. http://www.wscbrc.com.