Monday, September 22, 2008

478-carat diamond discovered at mine in Lesotho

478-carat diamond discovered at mine in Lesotho

Monday, September 22nd 2008, 12:13 PM

Gem Diamonds Ltd., a miner of the precious stones in Africa, said the world's 20th-largest rough diamond was discovered at its Letseng mine in Lesotho.

Gem found the 478-carat white diamond - valued at over $21 milllion - on Sept. 8 in the southern African country, the London-based company said in a statement distributed today by the Regulatory News Service. The stone is the "highest color grading available for a white diamond,"' it said.

"It has the potential to yield one of the largest flawless D color round polished diamonds in history," Gem said.

The stone may yield more than $45,000 a carat because of its size and quality, RBS Capital Markets London-based analyst Des Kilalea, wrote in a report to clients today. Prices of VS2 G diamonds, a commonly traded gem, are $5,130 for a one-carat stone, or 20 percent more than a year ago, according to Antwerp- based

Gem fell 31.5 pence, or 4.3 percent, to 710 pence as of 12:11 p.m. in London, valuing the company at 447 million pounds ($824 million).

The Letseng mine has now produced four of the world's 20 largest rough diamonds and the three largest diamonds recovered this century, it said. A carat is equal to a fifth of a gram.

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