Storm Mountain's Kao mine in the Kingdom of Lesotho is quickly establishing itself as one of the world's most important producers of exceptional pink diamonds. Last week, the mining company unveiled a spectacular 108.39-carat fancy intense pink diamond, which ranks among the largest in history.
The yet-to-be-named gemstone is more than twice the carat weight of the mine's previous record holder: the 47.81-carat “Pink Eternity,” which was discovered in 2022. Other notable pink diamonds from the Kao mine include the “Pink Palesa” (21.68 carat, 2021) and the Rose of Kao (29.59 carats, 2018).
The 170.2-carat Lulo Rose, which was discovered in August 2022 by Lucapa Diamond Co. at its Lulo alluvial mine in Angola, is said to be the largest pink diamond recovered in the past 300 years.
Storm Mountain described its newest headliner as a Type IIa gemstone, which is chemically pure with no traces of nitrogen or boron impurities. This type of stone accounts for fewer than 2% of all natural diamonds.
Its color rating of "fancy intense" is one grade below the highest possible grade of "fancy vivid." For fancy-colored diamonds, the general rule is "the stronger the hue, the more valuable the stone." It's still not clear what size and shape of stone will emerge during the cutting process.
Pink diamonds are in high demand and short supply since the November 2020 closure of Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine, which had been the world’s primary source of high-quality pink diamonds.
Storm Mountain Diamonds is jointly owned by Namakwa Diamonds Limited and the Government of Lesotho. According to mining.com, the Kao mine is one of the largest diamond mines in Lesotho and produces about 400,000 carats annually.
All eyes will be on another pink diamond on June 8. The cushion cut, 10.57-carat "Eternal Pink" with a color grade of “fancy vivid” is expected to eclipse $35 million when it hits the auction block at Sotheby’s New York.
The “CTF Pink Star” still holds the price record for any gem sold at auction. The 59.6-carat pink diamond sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for $71.2 million in 2017.
Credits: Images courtesy of Storm Mountain Diamonds.