A large 170-carat pink diamond was discovered in Angola and is said to be the largest gem found in 300 years.
Dubbed the “Lulo Rose”, the rare colored gemstone is the fifth largest diamond ever found in the African mine, according to its Australia-based owner.
It was found in the Lulo Alluvial Diamond mine in Angola’s diamond-rich Lunda Norte region, the mine’s owner, the Lucapa Diamond Company, said on its website Wednesday.
According to the Gemological Institute of America, which studies diamond production, Angola’s mines are among the top ten diamond producers in the world. In alluvial diamond mining, rocks are extracted from the gravel and sand found on river beds.
Rarity of the pink gem
Pink diamonds are extremely rare – but the same physical properties that make stones rare also make them very tough and difficult to shape.
“Only one in 10,000 diamonds is coloured pink. So you’re certainly looking at a very rare article when you find a very large pink diamond,” according to chief executive Stephen Wetherall.
In general, pink gems are expected to get high prices at auction, but Wetherall said he wasn’t sure what prizes would be paid for the color.
What is Lulu?
Lulu is an alluvial mine. That is, the stones are removed from the river bed.
Speaking from the company’s Australia headquarters, Wetherall said Lucapa is looking for underground deposits known as kimberlite tubes as the main source of diamonds. “We are looking for kimberlite tubes that brought these diamonds to the surface,” says Wetherall.
“We’re looking for the kimberlite pipes that brought these diamonds to the surface,” Wetherall shared.
“When you find these high-value large diamonds … it certainly elevates the excitement, from our perspective, in our hunt for the primary source,” he further explains.
The Lulu mine employs around 400 people and has already produced two of the largest diamonds ever discovered in Angola, including a clear diamond weighing 404 carats.
Hardy said the stone is unlikely to be on public display — or even sold at auction — because retailers have customers waiting to find such a rare find.
Largest pink diamonds in the world
The largest known pink diamond is the Daria-i-Noor, which was discovered in India, and experts say was cut from an even larger stone.
The largest rough diamond of any color on record is the Cullinan Diamond, found in South Africa in 1905.
Weighing 3,107 carats – over half a kilogram – it was cut from 105 different stones. The largest of these – the Cullinan I – is the largest white-cut diamond in the world and is one of Britain’s crown jewels.
How to acquire this pink diamond?
The pink gem is the fifth largest diamond found at the mine, where 27 diamonds of 100 carats or more have been found, according to Lucapa. It is being sold following an international call for tenders by the Angolan state-owned diamond marketing company, Sodiam.
“This record and spectacular pink diamond recovered from Lulo continues to showcase Angola as an important player on the world stage for diamond mining and demonstrates the potential and rewards for commitment and investment in our growing diamond mining industry,” according to Diamantino Azevedo, Angola’s mineral resources minister.
The pink diamond is extraordinarily large, but many clear diamonds are larger than 1,000 carats. The Cullinan diamond found in South Africa in 1905 weighs 3106 carats and sits in the scepter of the British ruler.
According to Lucapa, Angola’s largest diamond, dubbed the “February 4 Stone”, was mined from the Lulo mine in February 2016. The 404.2-carat stone sold for $16 million.