TAKE A LOOK | Botswana finds the third biggest diamond ever, after nearly discarding it

Business Insider SA
The Botswana diamond
(Government of Botswana)
  • What seems likely to be certified as the third-biggest gemstone-quality diamond ever found has been unveiled in Botswana.
  • The Debswana find is smaller only than the Cullinan Diamond, and the Lesedi la Rona found in Botswana five years ago.
  • Botswana's government, a part owner of Debswana, says it can put the proceeds from the giant rock's sale to good use.
  • The diamond was first thought to be just another "valueless" rock.
  • For more stories go to

It is not yet certified – and does not yet have a name. But a 1,098 carat diamond found in Botswana seems likely to be recorded as the third largest such gemstone ever discovered, after the Cullinan Diamond found outside Pretoria in 1905, and the Lesedi La Rona, found in Botswana in 2015.

The stone, the size of a child's fist, was presented to the government of Botswana this week by Debswana, the joint-venture company between the government of Botswana and the South African diamond company De Beers.

The stone was at first classed with a pile of valueless rocks that had been due to be discarded, said Debswana. Now the proceeds from its sale has been promised to the people by a government that has described it as symbolic, and hopefully a sign of things to come as its mining sector expands and tools up with sophisticated equipment.

The Cullinan was cut into nine large stones, and 97 "small brilliants", which form part of the British crown jewels. 

The rough Lesedi La Rona sold for $53 million, or just under $48,000 per carat in 2017, which suggests the new stone could be worth in the region of R740 million. 

The rough stone was cut into the 302.37 carat Graff Lesedi La Rona over 18 months, making it the world’s largest square emerald cut diamond.

Take a look at the giant diamond found in Botswana this month.

Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi ceremoniously received the stone from Debswana's acting MD Lynette Armstrong – for inspection....

Botswana's giant diamond
(Government of Botswana)

... and photos.

Botswana's huge diamond
(Government of Botswana)

At 1,098 carats, the stone ranks behind only the Cullinan Diamond, and the Lesedi la Rona, also from Botswana.

Botswana diamond
(Government of Botswana)

It has not yet been formally valued. Although carat count is important, so are three other characteristics in what is common referred to as the four Cs: colour, clarity and how it is eventually cut.

The Botswana diamond
(Government of Botswana)

The diamond was found at the Jwaneng mine – which translates to English as "a place of small stones".

Debswana diamond
(Government of Botswana)

With the Lesedi La Rona cut, the new stone is now the largest rough diamond in existence.

The rough Lesedi La Rona Diamond on display ahead
The rough Lesedi La Rona Diamond on display ahead of a Sothebys auction in 2016. (Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Sothebys)

See the ceremonial presentation of the stone to the government of Botswana here:

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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