An oval-shaped gemstone weighing more than 20 carats has been unveiled as the largest blue diamond to be discovered in Botswana.
The state-owned Okavango Diamond Company, which markets gemstones, announced the find on Wednesday in Gaborone.
It has estimated the stone was formed between 500 million and 3 billion years ago.
“From the first moment we saw the diamond, it was clear we had something very special,” said managing director Marcus ter Haar.
“It is incredibly unusual for a stone of this colour and nature to have come from Botswana – a once-in-lifetime find, which is about as rare as a star in the Milky Way.
“Only a handful of similar blue stones have come to market during the last decade, of which the Okavango Blue rightfully takes its place as one of the most significant.”
The company said it was discovered last year at the Orapa mine, operated by Debswana, a joint venture between Anglo American’s De Beers and Botswana.
The stone has been graded an oval brilliant cut and its colour confirmed as a “fancy deep blue”.
Its clarity is said to be one of the highest polished colour classifications attainable for a blue diamond.
It is expected to be sold near the end of the year.
The southern African nation is one of the world’s top producers of natural stones, which account for approximately half of government revenue.
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