Stones by zodiac signs

Where is the largest diamond deposit located?

Despite the UN initiative and the organization of the Kimberlite Process, the supply of smuggled diamonds from African countries still continues. Funds from the sale of stones go to support military conflicts in the region.

In Russia, diamond mining is under state control. To start mining gems, you need to obtain a special license. Diamonds are a source of income for the treasury, a guarantor of financial independence. Our country has all the prerequisites to switch to exporting already cut stones, which would increase income.

Large diamond deposits

99% of diamonds mined in Russia are obtained from deposits in Yakutia. Previously, stones were found in the Urals – on the banks of streams and rivers, as well as during washing of gold ore. However, the placers were practically not given the opportunity to begin industrial development.

Depending on the geological processes involved in the removal of diamond ore to the upper layers, deposits are divided into impact, bedrock and placer deposits.

Impact diamonds appear on the surface as a result of a meteorite falling. Such deposits are not always suitable for industrial production, but they are of significant interest to scientists.

Primary deposits are those that formed where magma reaches the surface. Most often these are deposits in areas with seismic activity and active or dormant volcanoes. Kimberlite and lamproite pipes are vertically oriented geological bodies that expand due to the explosion of rock at the outlet. The predominant volume of production is carried out in kimberlite deposits. Most of the jewelry stones are mined from them.

A placer deposit is formed as a result of erosive processes in a diamond-bearing pipe. Precipitation washes away the rock, forming placer fields of diamonds, pebbles and rubble.

Placer diamond deposits are divided into 4 types.

  • Coastal-marine – when volcanic rock crumbles on the coast.
  • Colluvial – formed on slopes.
  • Alluvial – formed in river valleys.
  • Eluvial – placers in the upper layer of the earth.

For thousands of years, placers have been the subject of industrial diamond mining. It was even believed that diamonds were formed in rivers.

The largest diamond deposits are recognized in descending order of rating:

  • Jwaneng (Botswana);
  • Yubileiny (Russia, Yakutia);
  • Udachnoye (Russia, Yakutia);
  • World (Russia, Yakutia);
  • Argyll (Australia);
  • Catoca (Angola);
  • Venice (South Africa);
  • Deposit named after V.P. Grib (Russia, Arkhangelsk region);
  • Orapa (Botswana).

Also considered to be large deposits are the Russian Botuobinskoye, named after M. Lomonosov; Crater of Diamonds State Park in the USA; Indian mines of Panna, Brazilian Minas Gerais.

History of the discovery of diamonds

The ancient Indians were the first to discover diamonds. For several thousand years they were the only ones who mined this gem. It was only in the 2nd century that stones began to be exported from India to China. In the 6th century, diamond placers were discovered on the island of Kalimantan. In the 3rd century BC, diamonds were brought to Europe with Alexander the Great.

  • Diamond ores were discovered in Brazil in 1725.
  • The first diamonds were discovered on the territory of the Russian Empire in 1829.
  • The South African diamond deposit was discovered in 1868.

Today, diamonds are also mined in Botswana, Zaire, Namibia, Canada, and Angola.

Primary diamond deposits in Yakutia were discovered only in the mid-1950s. The discovery of the Zarnitsa, Mir and Udachnaya kimberlite pipes marked the beginning of industrial diamond mining in the USSR. The highest quality diamonds in Russia today are mined in the Ural diamond-bearing province.

Origin of diamonds

There are several theories explaining the origin of the strongest minerals. All of them are divided into 2 groups – cosmic and terrestrial.

When ancient Greek philosophers called diamonds fragments of fallen stars, they were somewhat right. Some of the diamonds found on our planet appeared here through meteorites. After the fall of a celestial body, diamond placers are discovered in the craters. Among scientists, they are considering versions that put forward the following hypotheses:

  • a meteorite is a fragment of a larger celestial body, which contained diamond ore in its rock;
  • the second hypothesis is that the carbon in the meteorite, when colliding with other meteorites, or when passing through the earth’s atmosphere and falling, is subjected to high pressure and temperature, due to which the molecular lattice crystallizes into a diamond one.

Such diamonds are called shock or impact diamonds. The probability of finding a stone with jewelry value in this case is almost impossible, the grain diameter is too small.

Terrestrial theories of the origin of diamonds are based on the effect of temperature and pressure formed by magma on carbon. The so-called kimberlite pipes, which are the cradle of diamonds, are nothing more than a place where magma comes to the surface.

Diamond mining methods

Today, natural diamonds are mined mainly in two ways – quarry and mine. The first is suitable for mining ore at shallow depths. The second is for the development of diamond ore at depth.

Placers are diamonds found on the surface. When such a place is discovered, workers wash the rock using large sieves.

Career way

Open view of diamond ore mining. It is considered the simplest and cheapest. The ore is removed to the surface of the quarry using loaders and machines and sent to the processing plant.

To extract the ore, a well is drilled through the installation. An explosive substance is placed in it. It is important for pyrotechnicians to correctly calculate the force and direction of the explosion, since diamonds can split if exposed to excessive force, and at high temperatures turn into graphite.

The quarry method has its limitations – its depth reaches only 600 meters. Heavy equipment with a lifting capacity of up to 136 tons is used. Moving along the serpentine funnel, cars cover up to 10 km.

The open method also puts forward certain requirements for technology when working in winter. For example, in Yakutia the temperature can reach -60 o C, the equipment must work uninterruptedly. Excavators, loaders and dump trucks of the BelAZ, Cat, Komatsu brands work in diamond quarries.

Mine method

Closed type of vein development. The kimberlite pipe reaches a depth of 1,5 km. After the upper layers have been completely worked out through the quarry, it is time to build a mine.

It is necessary to invest about 3-4 billion dollars to prepare the mine and put it into operation. Experts believe that subsequent maintenance of the facility is already cheaper. Even with such investments, diamond mining remains economically viable.

Explosives are rarely used in the mine. The ore is mainly crushed using a shearer. The machine has special cutters that destroy kimberlite rock. Ore is also delivered to the surface by special machines – loaders fill trolleys that run to the surface.

The most expensive process in this case is ensuring safety for workers and equipment, creating conditions suitable for efficient ore mining.

Diamond ore extracted from a quarry or mine is brought to a factory where it is washed. This uses the ability of diamonds to absorb fat. The washing surface is covered with a layer of fat and the diamonds are glued, and the remaining rock is washed away by supplying water.

The diamond industry is very strict in its precise and uncompromising approach to grading the diamonds that create brilliant stones. There are entire systems for describing their properties and determining their cost. But there are nuggets that destroy the usual ideas about diamonds – they come into the world and surprise with their incredible sizes and breathtaking characteristics.

It is difficult to count all the amazing discoveries of diamonds made by mankind. But we can easily present the top 10 largest diamonds found over the past 20 years.

10th place – diamond from Botswana weighing 549 carats

In the state of Botswana (Africa), the EM/PK block of the Karowe mine, owned by the diamond mining company Lucara Diamonds, was discovered in 2020 as a stone of exceptional quality and weight: type IIa, 549 carats. It became the fourth largest diamond to come from the area, with the previous major find being a 176-carat diamond mined in January.

The diamond was found using a new technology called “MDR (Mega Diamond Recovery) XR” – it allows you to find large stones using X-ray light and mine them without the risk of splitting the mineral due to rock crushing.

9th place – Letšeng Star diamond weighing 550 carats

The small African kingdom of Lesotho regularly becomes a source of incredible diamonds that stun the world with their characteristics and sizes. One of them was discovered in 2011 by the mining company Gem Diamonds, the weight of the nugget was 550 carats, color – D, type II.

The diamond was purchased by the Graff jewelry house, owned by Laurence Graff, for $16,5 million. The craftsmen turned the large stone into a whole collection of the purest pear-shaped diamonds, including a large 33-carat specimen and 24 smaller ones.

8th place – Diavik diamond weighing 552 carats

The Diavik diamond, found at the deposit of the same name in Canada in 2018, went down in history as the largest specimen discovered on the North American continent. The stone is distinguished by a uniform yellow tint and high purity, characteristic of all diamonds found here.

The Diavik deposit is located near the North Pole, the weather conditions here are extremely unfavorable for the extraction of precious stones, but Canadian miners continue to provide the deposit with one of the leading positions in the world supply of diamonds.

Interestingly, the Dominion company, which owns the mines, decided not to sell the diamond, but only to give it the necessary cut. The world froze in anticipation of the birth of a new beautiful diamond.

7th place – Wynn diamond weighing 581 carats

The Wynn Diamond has a mysterious history; today it is difficult to find a photograph of it and it is absolutely unclear where it is located.

The stone was found in 2002 in Brazil and sent to Belgium to be turned into a pear-shaped diamond, the color of which is H (almost colorless), and the clarity grade is VS1 (very small inclusions), weighing 230 carats after cutting. The faceted mineral was purchased in 2007 by Steve Wynn, the creator of a number of casinos in Las Vegas. There are rumors about who Wynn gave the diamond to the Cartier jewelry company, but the further development of the story remains unknown.

6th place – Lesotho Promise diamond weighing 603 carats

“Lesotho Promise” or “Promise of Lesotho” is another unique example from the kingdom in Africa we mentioned. In 2006, Gem Diamonds made the largest discovery at that time in the Letšeng mines – a stone weighing 603 carats. Its color is D, that is, absolutely colorless, type is IIa, that is, practically without impurities.

Nugget bought the Graff jewelry house for more than $12 million. During the cutting process, the diamond was turned into 26 flawless diamonds, the largest of which was pear-shaped and weighs 76,41 carats. The stones were used to create a diamond necklace, which was also called the “Lesotho Promise”.

5th place – Peace Diamond weighing 709 carats

The “Peace Diamond” or “Peace Diamond” was found in 2017 in the African republic of Sierra Leone, whose financial situation is extremely unfavorable. However, the find helped not only the state’s economy, but also the prospectors who found the stone. The fact is that after discovery, the diamond was put up for auction with the condition that 56% of the proceeds would be given to the government of the country in the form of taxes, another 15% would go to improve the condition of the diamond mining industry, and the remaining 26% would go to improve the working conditions of miners. who lack electricity and running water.

Lawrence Graff decided to purchase this giant 709-carat nugget for charity.

4th place – Constellation diamond weighing 813 carats

The Constellation diamond was discovered in 2015 in the Canadian Karowe mine, and again the find belonged to Lucara. The stone is Type IIa and has very rare characteristics of clarity and transparency, which, together with its gigantic weight (813 carats), ensured its place among the most expensive rough diamonds in history.

A year after its discovery, the nugget was acquired by Nemesis International and turned into a 313-carat emerald-cut diamond. Later, the treasure was presented in the UAE at a jewelry exhibition, where it attracted a sea of ​​admiring glances and positive reviews from jewelers.

3rd place – Lesotho Legend diamond weighing 910 carats

We are gradually approaching the largest diamond of the new century, but for now, take a look at another giant from South Africa, the Kingdom of Lesotho. It weighs more than 900 carats!

The Letšen deposit is a real treasure trove of top-quality diamonds, such as the 2018-carat stone sample found here in 910 with the name Lesotho Legend (Lesotho Legend). It belongs to type IIa and has a color category D. Such high characteristics allowed the stone to be sold at auction for $40 million; it went under the hammer to a buyer from Antwerp, Belgium. Who this lucky owner of this historical nugget is is unknown.

2nd place – Lesedi La Rona diamond weighing 1109 carats

In the photo there is another unique sample with the name Lesedi La Rona and weighing 1109 carats, originally from Botswana. It is the largest known gem-quality diamond since the 3107-carat Cullinan diamond, discovered in 1905. Like many of the examples on our list, Lesedi La Rona is a type IIa, in other words, it is so pure and transparent that there are only 1 – 2% of diamonds like it on Earth.

This amazing specimen was purchased by Lawrence Graff for $53 million and promised to work around the clock to fully reveal the beauty of the stone. The result was a large collection of diamonds in the amount of 67 pieces. The largest of them weighs more than 302 carats and has an emerald cut.

1st place – Sewelô diamond weighing 1758 carats

The largest diamond on our list was this specimen, found in 2019 at the Lucara Karowe deposit in Botswana using the already mentioned “MDR (Mega Diamond Recovery) XR” technology.

The 1758-carat stone was named “Sewelô,” which means “Rare Find” in Setswana. It is distinguished by its dark color, which is due to the fact that the stone is covered with a thin layer of carbon. Despite its non-jewelry quality, it was bought by the famous Louis Vuitton company for a large sum, but the exact figures were not disclosed.

The processing of the stone for further implementation in Louis Vuitton’s design plans will be carried out by Lucara Diamond, the company that mined the diamond. The world is eagerly awaiting stunning products featuring this unusual nugget.

Is Africa the new leader in diamond mining?

As you may have noticed, almost all of the largest diamonds of the 21st century were found in just two African deposits – Lucara Karowe (Botswana) and Letšeng (Lesotho). Who knows what other treasures these lands conceal, but it is clear that our century will be a time of incredible discoveries in the world of gem mining. This is largely due to the development of technologies that help find minerals and plan their extraction without the risk of damaging valuable stones. And yet, the lion’s share of nuggets are born through the hands of ordinary workers and miners who work hard so that the world can enjoy the beauty of natural stones.

You can see jewelry with wonderful colored stones and diamonds in the Maxim Demidov catalog. If you are interested in learning about how diamonds are mined, check out our article “How Diamonds Are Born.” And our other text will tell you about the process of creating jewelry – “How jewelry is created.”

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