'World's biggest diamond' revealed as fake

James Macintyre
Saturday 06 October 2007 00:00
Comments

The discovery of the "world's biggest diamond" last August sent ripples of excitement around the world. It was said to be twice the size of the Cullinan, or Great Star of Africa, discovered near Pretoria in 1905.

Neither the South Africa Diamond Board, nor the Diamond and Jewellery Federation, the trade body, confirmed its authenticity. But the warnings were drowned out by the breathless claims of one Brett Jolly, a spokesman for the mining firm Two Point Five Construction, who had announced the stone was being transported to a bank vault in Johannesburg "until we calm down and decide what we are going to do".

Now however, the "diamond" has been revealed as a fake. Yesterday, the president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, Ernest Blom, announced he was withdrawing from the verification process to test the stone, saying: "I suspect something is afoot."

Meanwhile, as the diamond's authenticity began to unravel, Mr Jolly, originally a British property developer, claimed he had been the victim of a fraud and told the website Mining Weekly Online that he wished he "never was involved with [the diamond] in the first place," adding that he didn't "care any more whether it's a diamond or not".

The mining website claims that on Monday it was offered a chance by Mr Jolly to test the stone, on the condition that it sign a non-disclosure agreement, in which it could be sued if it disclosed any information on the stone before receiving written confirmation. Mining Weekly Online declined the offer.

Meanwhile, De Beers, which owns the Cullinan, expressed relief that it still holds the title of the biggest diamond ever discovered. "The search for diamonds is so romantic," said a spokesman, Tom Tweedy. "This does illustrate that diamonds hold a mystique with people."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in