It has just been announced that one of the world's biggest diamonds has been found in a mine in Botswana. The gem-quality stone still needs to be assessed properly but it measures a massive 65 mm x 56 mm x 40 mm and weighs 1,111-carats. The only diamond to have been recovered which is larger than this is the 3,106 carats Cullinan diamond which was discovered in South Africa in 1905 and was cut into several gems. Two of these - The Greater Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa - now feature in the British Crown Jewels, so I can't wait to hear what they decide to do with this extraordinary stone. It will take a while, though- even once it had been assessed and decisions made about how best to cut the stone, the Cullinan diamond took 8 months to polish into it's final shapes!
Botswana is a major diamond producer and the country relies on it's mineral wealth to fund things like education and health care. For this reason, we at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery have always felt that ethically it is better to support Kimberley Process registered, African countries in their diamond mining than using (for example) Canadian diamonds because of how important this is to them. The most easily accessible illustration of this is the delightful series of books written by Alexander McCall Smith, The First Ladies' Detective Agency. Whilst not focusing on the diamond industry in the stories, diamond mining and the associated crafts of cutting and polishing are mentioned in every book, demonstrating how many people are affected by the industry in this fascinating country. In fact, we have recently started working with diamonds which are mined in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, and cut and polished in Botswana under fair trade principles. The artisans who are working on the stones are all local and trained locally, and the company also supports an orphanage in the area... much like the characters in the books. If you’d like to chat to us about using one of these diamonds in your own bespoke piece of jewellery please do get in touch!