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Third-largest diamond on Earth uncovered in Africa, miners say

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi (R) holds a gem diamond in Gaborone, Botswana, on June 16, 2021.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi (R) holds a gem diamond in Gaborone, Botswana, on June 16, 2021. The diamond is thought to be the third-largest in the world. (Image credit: Getty )

Miners in Botswana have unearthed a stunning, 1,098-carat diamond that may be the third-largest diamond in the world, according to news reports.

The giant gem was uncovered June 1 in the Jwaneng mine in southern Botswana, which is considered the world's most valuable mine, according to Bloomberg. A spokesperson for mining company Debswana  — a joint venture between the De Beers corporation and the government of Botswana — said that the whopping gemstone is the largest diamond ever discovered in the company's five-decade history.

Botswana is Africa's leading diamond producer, The Guardian reported, and is also home to the mine where the world's second-largest diamond — a 1,109-carat stone called the Lesedi La Rona — was unearthed in 2015.

Related: Sinister sparkle gallery: 13 mysterious and cursed gemstones

The world's biggest diamond, called the Cullinan, is larger than the two runners-up combined; that stone measured 3,106 carats when it was discovered in South Africa in 1905. In 1908, the titanic gem was cut into about 100 pieces, with the largest 530-carat chunk shipped off to London, where it adorns the top of the British Sovereign's Royal Scepter (one of the Crown Jewels of England stashed in the Tower of London, as Live Science previously reported.)

The new stone will be appraised in the coming weeks, at which point Botswana's state-owned diamond trading company can decide whether to buy it from Debswana or let De Beers sell it, Bloomberg reported.

Originally published on Live Science.

Brandon Specktor
Brandon Specktor writes about the science of everyday life for Live Science, and previously for Reader's Digest magazine, where he served as an editor for five years. He grew up in the Sonoran Desert, but believes Sonoran hot dogs are trying way too hard.