The largest known uncut, gem-quality diamond mined in North America is available to view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History until February 2017.
The Foxfire Diamond, which weighs more than 187 carats, was unearthed in August 2015 at the Diavik Diamond Mind in the Barren Lands of Canada’s Northwest Territories. The site is just 130 miles from the Arctic Circle, leading those who discovered the gem to name it ‘Foxfire’ – inspired by an aboriginal description of the Northern Lights as similar to the swish of fox tails.
The discovery of the Foxfire caused something of a stir among miners in the region, who believed such large, gem-quality diamonds were unlikely to exist in the area. In fact, diamonds found over the previous decade generally peaked at six carats. Because of this, the mine’s equipment was configured to sift out stones smaller than six carats, while pulverising larger ones.
The 187.63 ct Foxfire should have been crushed, but its uncommonly flattened shape enabled it to safely pass through the filters.
Diamond enthusiasts in North America, or indeed those travelling to Washington D.C., are encouraged to see the Foxfire before it is removed from public view on February 16 2017. It will also be displayed alongside the infamous Hope Diamond in the Harry Winston Gallery of the museum.
In June 2016, the Foxfire Diamond was acquired in an international auction by Deepak Sheth of Amadena Investments LLC/Excellent Facets Inc. Sheth elected to preserve the diamond intact, maintaining both its unique characteristics and interesting origin story.
He says: "Having North America’s largest known uncut, gem-quality diamond on display at the Smithsonian is a testament to the rarity of the Foxfire diamond. It also represents another significant chapter in the diamond’s remarkable story." ■
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Cover image courtesy of Amadena Investments LLC