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$16M Diamond Nearly Ended Up as Road Filler — and It’s Possible Others Actually Did

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Had the gem passed through lying flat instead of standing up on edge, it would have been rejected and discarded. Diamond images courtesy of Lucapa Diamond Co.

Back in February, a thumb-shaped 404-carat gem-quality rough diamond miraculously found its way through a hole in the sorting screen at Lucapa Diamond Co.’s Lulo processing plant in Angola because it was oriented vertically, not horizontally.

Had the gem — which was eventually sold for $16 million — passed through lying flat instead of standing up on edge, it would have been rejected and discarded. It would have likely joined the other rejected, oversized “rocks” Lucapa had collected and used to fill the road beds throughout the Lulo project.

The diamond recovery plant had been configured to capture diamonds up to 280 carats in size. Before that day in February, no rough diamond larger than 278 carats had ever been pulled from the mine.

Now, the Australian Business Review is reporting that Lucapa executives have good reason to believe that the roads surrounding the Lulo mine may be literally paved with diamonds. Lucapa Chairman Miles Kennedy is affectionately calling them “the diamond highways.”

Lucapa is betting that many more mammoth-size diamonds were rejected in the sorting process and ended up as road filler. The company is looking into the prospect of digging out the road material and reprocessing it through a new sorting machine that can recover diamonds up to 1,000 carats in size. The new machine will go online next month.

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$16M Diamond Nearly Ended Up as Road Filler — and It’s Possible Others Actually Did

A thumb-shaped 404-carat gem-quality rough diamond found its way through a hole in the sorting screen at Lucapa Diamond Co.’s Lulo processing plant in Angola. Diamond images courtesy of Lucapa Diamond Co.

Lucapa has been stockpiling potentially diamond-rich oversized material since February’s spectacular find. The Australian Business Review reported that the stockpiled material will be sorted first, and if more giant stones emerge, the roads surrounding Lulo will be dug up next.’

The Lulo Diamond Project in Angola already has earned a reputation for producing very large, high-quality rough diamonds. Lucapa has found six stones weighing 100 carats or more, including two in the past few weeks. The most recent find was a 172.6-carat D-color, Type IIa stone, the purest of all diamonds because they are composed solely of carbon with virtually no trace elements in the crystal lattice.

Earlier this month, Lucapa unveiled a 38.6-carat fancy pink diamond from Lulo, offering the possibility that the mine could become a prime source for all varieties of fine-quality diamonds.


HOWARD COHEN is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821-8867, [email protected] Websites: thejewelerblog.com, thejewelerblog.wordpress.com

This article is an online extra for INSTORE Online.

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Going Out of Business Is an Emotional Journey. Wilkerson Is There to Make It Easier.

Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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$16M Diamond Nearly Ended Up as Road Filler — and It’s Possible Others Actually Did

mm

Published

on

Had the gem passed through lying flat instead of standing up on edge, it would have been rejected and discarded. Diamond images courtesy of Lucapa Diamond Co.

Back in February, a thumb-shaped 404-carat gem-quality rough diamond miraculously found its way through a hole in the sorting screen at Lucapa Diamond Co.’s Lulo processing plant in Angola because it was oriented vertically, not horizontally.

Had the gem — which was eventually sold for $16 million — passed through lying flat instead of standing up on edge, it would have been rejected and discarded. It would have likely joined the other rejected, oversized “rocks” Lucapa had collected and used to fill the road beds throughout the Lulo project.

The diamond recovery plant had been configured to capture diamonds up to 280 carats in size. Before that day in February, no rough diamond larger than 278 carats had ever been pulled from the mine.

Now, the Australian Business Review is reporting that Lucapa executives have good reason to believe that the roads surrounding the Lulo mine may be literally paved with diamonds. Lucapa Chairman Miles Kennedy is affectionately calling them “the diamond highways.”

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Lucapa is betting that many more mammoth-size diamonds were rejected in the sorting process and ended up as road filler. The company is looking into the prospect of digging out the road material and reprocessing it through a new sorting machine that can recover diamonds up to 1,000 carats in size. The new machine will go online next month.

$16M Diamond Nearly Ended Up as Road Filler — and It’s Possible Others Actually Did

A thumb-shaped 404-carat gem-quality rough diamond found its way through a hole in the sorting screen at Lucapa Diamond Co.’s Lulo processing plant in Angola. Diamond images courtesy of Lucapa Diamond Co.

Lucapa has been stockpiling potentially diamond-rich oversized material since February’s spectacular find. The Australian Business Review reported that the stockpiled material will be sorted first, and if more giant stones emerge, the roads surrounding Lulo will be dug up next.’

The Lulo Diamond Project in Angola already has earned a reputation for producing very large, high-quality rough diamonds. Lucapa has found six stones weighing 100 carats or more, including two in the past few weeks. The most recent find was a 172.6-carat D-color, Type IIa stone, the purest of all diamonds because they are composed solely of carbon with virtually no trace elements in the crystal lattice.

Earlier this month, Lucapa unveiled a 38.6-carat fancy pink diamond from Lulo, offering the possibility that the mine could become a prime source for all varieties of fine-quality diamonds.


HOWARD COHEN is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821-8867, [email protected] Websites: thejewelerblog.com, thejewelerblog.wordpress.com

Advertisement

This article is an online extra for INSTORE Online.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials | Sollberger’s

Going Out of Business Is an Emotional Journey. Wilkerson Is There to Make It Easier.

Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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