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Giant Bling: World's Second-Largest Diamond Unearthed

The second largest diamond in the world.
The newly unearthed diamond is the second largest in the world at 1,111 carats. (Image credit: Lucara Diamond Corp.)

A mining company operating in Botswana recently announced that it has "recovered" the second-largest diamond in the world. And, no, you wouldn't want to wear it on your ring finger.

At 1,111 carats, the rock weighs nearly half a pound (227 grams) and measures 2.6 by 2.2 by 1.6 inches (65 by 56 by 40 millimeters). The high-quality gemstone is a Type IIa diamond, which means that it contains no measurable nitrogen impurities, rendering it almost completely transparent. (Mineral impurities and structural defects are what give certain diamonds their distinct colors.)

The gem is the largest of its kind to ever be found in Botswana and the largest diamond to be discovered anywhere in the world in more than 100 years, according to officials from the Lucara Diamond Corp., which discovered the massive gemstone. But, it's not the biggest diamond of them all.

That title goes to the gigantic "Cullinan" diamond, a 3,106-carat shiny rock discovered in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905. The 1.33-lb. (603 g) gem 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 BBC reported.

The world's second-largest diamond has yet to be evaluated, and its price is not currently known. However, a much smaller, 341.9-carat diamond recovered in Lucara's mine sold for $20.6 million, or $60,000 a carat, in July, according to Bloomberg Business. So, if this giant piece of bling is something you'd like to own, you'd better start saving now.

Follow Elizabeth Palermo @techEpalermo. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Elizabeth Palermo
Elizabeth is a Live Science associate editor who writes about science and technology. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from George Washington University. Elizabeth has traveled throughout the Americas, studying political systems and indigenous cultures and teaching English to students of all ages.