All it took was a prophecy. That was enough to launch Shefa Yamim, an Israeli mining firm that has spent more than a decade combing the hills and valleys around Haifa for diamonds, something no one ever expected to find in Israel. "It's a mission," CEO Avi Taub tells Reuters. "We're talking about divine providence." Taub, an Orthodox Jew, founded the company based on a remark that renowned Brooklyn rabbi Menachem Schneerson made back in 1988.
Speaking with the then-mayor of Haifa, Schneerson said that the city "has a sea and it has a valley—and in the valley are precious stones and gems. The holy one … concealed them in the depths of the earth." Shefa Yamim launched 11 years later, and it says that, amazingly enough, it's found geological evidence that Schneerson might have been right—including macro- and micro-diamonds. But that doesn't mean much, independent researchers caution; only about 1% of diamond kimberlite pipes are economically viable to mine. Should such a mine exist, it would be a staggering find for the industry, which sources most of its gems from just 20 mines. (Read more diamond stories.)