Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Massive diamond found in S. Africa

A leading diamond expert on Monday predicted a glittering future for a stone found recently at a mine in South Africa if is confirmed as the world’s largest diamond. Les Milner, a gemologist at the Jewellery Council of South Africa, described the stone, which was photographed on a table beside a mobile phone that it appeared to dwarf, as ‘massive.’ “If it is a diamond it could easily be between 6,500 and 7,000 carats,” he said. The previous world-record-holder, the Cullinan Diamond, which was discovered near Pretoria in January 1905, weighed about 3,106 carats uncut.

Milner described the stone’s shape as octahedral (having eight plane surfaces) and its colour as having a ‘faint green tinge. If the green colour remained after the stone was cut and polished, it would be even more rare, he said, venturing, “It could be the eighth wonder of the world.” If it wasn’t a diamond, it could be a crystal or a fake, he said. News of the discovery of the gem, which Dieter Hahn, treasurer- general of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses estimated as weighing between 1.2 and 1.4 kilogrammes, has stunned the diamond industry. “It caught everybody in the diamond industry offside,” the founder of Diamond Cutters International, Fred Cuellar, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper, predicting a flurry of ‘mad bidding’ among would-be buyers.