A big pink diamond of 170 carats has been discovered in Angola and is claimed to be the largest such gemstone found in 300 years.
Called the “Lulo Rose,” the diamond was found at the Lulo alluvial diamond mine in the diamond-rich Lunda Norte region of Angola, the mine’s owner, the Lucapa Diamond Company, said on Wednesday on its website.
“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,” Lucapa’s chief executive, Stephen Wetherall, said.
The pink gemstone is expected to fetch a high price when auctioned but Wetherall said he did not know what kind of premium would be paid because of its colour.
Lulo is an alluvial mine, which means the stones are recovered from a riverbed.
Speaking from the company’s headquarters in Australia, Wetherall said the Lucapa company was searching for the underground deposits, known as kimberlite pipes, which would be the main source of the diamonds.
“We’re looking for the kimberlite pipes that brought these diamonds to the surface,” Wetherall said.
“When you find these high-value large diamonds … it certainly elevates the excitement, from our perspective, in our hunt for the primary source.”
About 400 staff are employed at the Lulo mine, which has already produced the two largest diamonds ever found in Angola, including a 404-carat clear diamond, he said.
The pink gemstone is the fifth-largest diamond found at the mine, where 27 diamonds of 100 carats or more have been found, according to Lucapa. It will be sold, by international tender, by the Angolan state diamond marketing company, Sodiam.
Angola’s mines make it one of the world’s top 10 producers of diamonds.
“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,” said Angola’s mineral resources minister, Diamantino Azevedo, according to the Lucapa website.
The pink diamond is an impressive size, but many clear diamonds are larger than 1,000 carats. The Cullinan diamond found in South Africa in 1905 tips the scales at 3,106 carats and is in the British sovereign’s sceptre.