'Astonishing Gemstone' Found in Canada's Unforgiving North

552-carat yellow diamond was unearthed in the Northwest Territories, just south of Arctic Circle
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2018 8:00 AM CST
A huge find in the Northwest Territories.   (Getty Images/Sunshine Seeds)

(Newser) – Gigantic gemstones don't typically emerge out of Canadian mines like they do in South Africa, but a big find in the Northwest Territories has just smashed that stereotype. Bloomberg reports a 552-carat yellow diamond the size of a chicken egg (picture here) was found there in October, and it's now said to be the largest diamond ever unearthed in North America. The "astonishing gemstone" was discovered at the Diavik mine, owned by the Rio Tinto Group and Dominion Diamond Mines, about 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle, per a press release. In addition to its North American honors, the diamond, which measures 33.74mm by 54.56mm, would rank among the 30 biggest stones ever discovered, per Bloomberg estimates, as well as the seventh largest this century.

The scratches on the diamond indicate it had a "difficult journey," and that it remained intact during the recovery process is "remarkable," the release notes. Also noteworthy is the fact that it came out of a mine in Canada, which is known for having tough terrain to penetrate due to the sub-Arctic conditions and dearth of access. "It's very unusual for a diamond of this size in this part of the world," Dominion Chief Executive Officer Shane Durgin tells Bloomberg. He adds that it's hard to say yet how much the diamond will ultimately be worth; it needs to be seen how it ends up once it's cut. Dominion will select a partner to do that job, and polish the stone to finish it off, in the next few weeks. (A 163-carat white diamond went for $33.7M last year at auction.)

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