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A London-based diamond mining company, Gem Diamonds, announced Monday
A London-based diamond mining company, Gem Diamonds, announced Monday it had discovered a rough diamond weighing 478 carats at its mine in Lesotho.

The company said the stone was the 20th-largest diamond found anywhere in the world and has the highest color grading available for a white diamond.

"Preliminary examination of this remarkable diamond indicates that it will yield a record-breaking polished stone of the very best color and quality," the Gem Diamonds CEO Clifford Elphick said.

The diamond, which has yet to be named, is expected to weigh approximately 150 karats after polishing, still enough to become one of the largest flawless round-polished diamonds in history, with a price of more than $12 million.

The white diamond "of outstanding clarity" was found on September 8 at the Letseng Mine, one of the world's richest diamond deposits, which has so far produced four of the world's 20 largest diamonds. Previous finds include the 603-carat Lesotho Promise in 2006, the 493-carat Letseng Legacy in 2007 and the 601-carat Lesotho Brown in the 1960s.

The stone has the potential to yield a diamond far bigger than the 105-carat round-cut Koh-i-Noor diamond, taken to Britain from India in the 19th century and now part of the British Crown Jewels.

The largest rough diamond ever found was the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond discovered in 1905, which yielded nine large diamonds, including a teardrop-shaped gem of 530 carats, called the Great Star of Africa.

The world's largest facetted diamond is a 545.6-carat brown gem called the Golden Jubilee.


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