Deep within the bowels of the Earth, workers are toiling away in one of South Africa’s most famous diamond mines. But while it may seem just like any other day in the mine, something extraordinary is about to be found. Something so extraordinary, in fact, that no scientist has ever seen it in nature – despite it being among the most plentiful minerals on the planet.
The world around us might seem very familiar, but that’s not to say it doesn’t hold secrets. Sometimes, those secrets even manage to creep out into the light, and this is one of those cases. It’s a story that delves 400 miles into the Earth, and it’s a tale of jewels and incredible pressure. And, fundamentally, it comes down to the unearthing of something that no scientist had ever laid eyes on before.
It all starts with a diamond. The Cullinan Diamond Mine, also known as the Premier Mine, is among the most famous mines in the world – and for very good reason. For starters, in 1905 a record-breaking diamond was discovered there. Named in honor of the mine’s chairman, the Cullinan Diamond is still the biggest rough diamond of gem quality that has ever been found.