2015: A gem quality diamond larger than 1,000 carats was found in Botswana. The first of that size in more than 110 years! That's 200 grams or 0.44 lbs! A diamond almost half a pound- better use your other hand to hold up that ring!
Why did it take another 110 years to find one that large? Two reasons are thought to be the causes: economics and technology. Economics created the necessity- the 1990s brought an explosion in wealth which lead to the appetite of the wealthy for large diamonds. Technology made it possible with new advances in diamond recovery from mining to cutting.
It might sound ridiculous, but many of the larger diamonds could be easily crushed during the mining processes pre-1990s. Through much of the last century mining profits came from speedy recovery of as many diamonds as possible. This led to practices like blasting the hosting rock, using giant steel jaws to crush it into smaller pieces, and then crush it again into even smaller pieces for processing. There are stories of workers seeing flashes, hitting the emergency stop button on conveyor belts leading to the crushers to save the larger diamonds- a 968.9 carat stone was saved in this manner.
Increased competition over the larger carat stones (a nearly 4 fold increase in prices between 1995-2005) caused mining companies to re-think their processes. Many mines now tumble or grind rock pieces together as this takes away the intense pressure that crushing produces. X-ray processing has also improved recovery rate of the larger stones by identifying them before they hit the crushers.
Mining companies still have a ways to go. Lucara mining executives think a 374 carat diamond had been part of a larger stone, but that blasting broke it...
To learn more visit gia.edu
Parker Jewelers believes in giving their customers the best! This includes information about what we can offer as well as what's new in jewelry!