• How important is diamond to Botswana?
  • What does diamond mean to the people of Botswana?
  • How did Meghan Markle’s engagement ring influence the diamond market?
  • What does the Botswana law say about buying diamonds?

Do you want to buy diamonds from Botswana to ask your girlfriend to marry you? That is exactly what Prince Harry did for Meghan. It is a well-documented fact that the African soil is very rich in diamonds. Yet no raw materials were discovered during the British protectorate in Botswana, still called Beetsjoeanaland at the time.

Order the perfect diamond for your jewellery through our tailor-made services.

How important is diamond to Botswana?

Miners in the Karowe mine in Botswana found a rough diamond the size of a tennis ball in November 2015. The biggest rough diamond discovered over the past hundred years! The stone was named ‘Lesidi La Rona’, which literally means ‘our light’. This colourless 1109 carat diamond was bought by the British jeweller Laurence Graff for 53 million dollars.

Botswana map shows the Karowe mine - BAUNAT

The Karowe mine isn’t even the country’s most important mine. That honour goes to the Jwaneng mine, which produces an average of 10 million carat per year and which can therefore rightfully refer to itself as the richest diamond mine in the world. Debswana, a joint venture between the Botswana government and diamond giant De Beers, announced plans to further develop this mine in April and to extend its life expectancy to 2024.

TIP: You can read more about buying conflict-free diamonds from African countries here.

But according to David Magang, entrepreneur and former minister of Minerals and Water in Botswana, the country has now become too dependent on the diamond. "More than 70% of the government money comes from exporting minerals,” he suggested two years ago during a speech held within the context of the 50th anniversary of his country’s independence.

"More than 70% of the government money comes from exporting minerals.”

- David Magang

The country may well be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but unemployment levels are still high. The Chinese demand for diamonds fell during the past years and this already cost Botswana a significant number of jobs. Despite plans to increase production at the Jwaneng mine, the mines in Botswana are slowly but surely becoming depleted and the country will therefore have to work on economic diversification.

In view of the difficulties associated with entering new economic markets, macroeconomist Gaotlhobogwe Motlaleng sees the best opportunities in a diversification of the current economic activities. He sees opportunities in cutting and trading diamonds, where Botswana has so far purely focussed on exporting rough diamonds.

TIP: Discover the diamond giant De Beers’ eventful history here, as well as the relationship the company has with diamond-rich African countries.

What does diamond mean to the people of Botswana?

We already briefly touched on the subject that, even though Botswana is one of the richer African countries, the number of people unemployed is continuing to rise. Botswana also has the highest number of HIV infected residents in the world. The mortality rate due to AIDS naturally affects the inhabitants’ general income.

It is estimated that more than 40% of the Botswana population is infected with the virus. This means that employees have to stop working early or even die prematurely, inevitably resulting in individual families being financially affected. The joint venture Debswana has therefore taken important steps in the fight against HIV and AIDS and even finances 90% of the antiretroviral medicine for its employees and their partners.

The joint venture Debswana has taken important steps in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Botswana.

And the return of the diamond goes even further. Debswana set up a network of AIDS coordinators and care providers, to raise awareness of AIDS in the workplace. The company also stated it would only do business with partners who could demonstrate to also be working on AIDS prevention in its policy.

The government also feels it’s important for the population to benefit from the rich soil they move around on every day. Once the diamond sector started doing well in Botswana, the decision was made for the proceeds of the diamond sales to be invested in the country’s future. Sustainable projects like education, water facilities and roads were on top of the list of priorities.

TIP: This 1:51 video will explain how the diamond price has evolved.

So buying diamonds from Botswana means you are contributing to the country’s continued development. The African countries of Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania also use the turnover created from diamond sales responsibly. You can therefore be sure of conflict-free diamonds, which the local population will benefit from either directly or indirectly.

TIP: You can read more about the Kimberley Process here, the international agreement which is trying to put an end to trading in conflict diamonds.

How did Meghan Markle’s engagement ring influence the diamond market?

Prince Harry designed a ring with three diamonds in order to ask his beloved Meghan to marry him: two round diamonds from his deceased mother Diana’s personal jewellery collection and a cushion cut diamond from Botswana. What few people know is that Harry actually travelled to the heart of the diamond sector to personally select the diamond.

Meghan Markle sporting a diamond trology ring just like the ones by BAUNAT

Discover a rose gold diamond trilogy ring just like Meghan Markle's here or by clicking on the image.

His ring design confirms the global recognition for Botswana as a producer of beautiful and conflict-free diamonds. Experts estimate the Botswana diamond on Meghan’s finger to be 5 carats. The entire ring is thought to be worth around 350,000 dollars. But this royal recognition is absolutely priceless to Botswana.

Choosing a diamond from Botswana shows the social and ecological responsibility which Prince Harry and Meghan displayed, considering diamond mining in Botswana contributed to the country’s transformation into one of Africa’s most prosperous economies.” 

- Kathryn Money, Brilliant Earth’s Strategy and Merchandising Vice President.

We can quite happily refer to this as the ‘Markle effect’, but many millennials want to buy an engagement ring with conflict-free diamonds. Sustainability and ethical production have always been important to generation Y. The online search traffic for synthetic diamonds also increased from 36% to 100% over the last decade.

TIP: Find out more about the production process and the use of synthetic diamonds here.

“Synthetic diamonds, made in the laboratory, are not just 20% cheaper than the natural product, but are also not confronted with a number of ethical problems which plague the traditional producers,” according to news site The Hustle.

Whoever is socially committed, like Harry and Meghan, will prefer diamonds from which the local population can benefit.

Yet research shows the consumer will continue to opt for the authentic product. After all, buying natural diamonds means opting for authenticity and rarity. And whoever is socially committed, like Harry and Meghan, will prefer diamonds which the local population can benefit from. Those wishing to buy diamonds for investment purposes will be able to benefit financially when opting for a natural diamond too.

What does the Botswana law say about buying diamonds?

Reuters, the news service with more than 2500 journalists in almost 200 countries and also an international supplier of financial data, reported on the fact that Botswana would be changing its diamond trading law a few months ago. The government will now be given first refusal to buy diamonds which are ‘unusually large, or have other special characteristics’.

The term ‘unusual’ wasn’t specified in any more detail in the legal proposal. An official told the local paper that this concerns stones which are unusually large, particularly clear, or those with an unusual colour. However, it does say that whoever is in possession of such a stone, must notify the minister within 30 days.

The price the government will have to pay for a rough or unprocessed gemstone made available for sale by the producer will be agreed between the parties in accordance with the rough or uncut gemstone’s current market price. 

- Botswana law.

Would you like to buy diamonds yourself? Investment diamonds? Or perhaps ethical or top quality diamond jewellery? Choose from BAUNAT’s extensive collection or contact our diamond experts by telephone, email or chat for extra advice.

Frequently asked Questions

What is the cushion cut?

The cushion cut refers to the diamond’s cut. This shape is a variation of the square princess cut with rounded corners. The cushion cut is now becoming increasing more popular when buying diamond jewellery. BAUNAT can offer this shape upon request.

Read more about the cushion cut diamond or request the ideal shape from BAUNAT.

What diamonds does BAUNAT use?

BAUNAT only offers 100% natural diamonds. This means no treated, artificial or clarity intensified diamonds.

BAUNAT only works together with the most renowned certificates of the diamond industry worldwide: GIA, HRD & IGI. 

BAUNAT NV has a zero-tolerance policy towards conflict diamonds. We only buy diamonds through the most respected diamond manufacturers.

The diamonds we select are high quality and offer the greatest brilliance in proportion to their cost.

We select the diamonds that sparkle to their maximum but pay no additional cost for prestige or rarity. Diamonds used by BAUNAT have a VS2 or SI1 score on the purity scale, and have a G or H colour. They also have an exceptional cut.

Diamonds with this result only have minor impurities that are impossible to see with the naked eye for a consumer.

Diamonds with this result have a very nice white colour without a yellow complexion.

1. Colour and clarity

BAUNAT offers 2 possible quality combinations:

G colour - VS2 clarity

H colour - SI1 clarity

Both combinations guarantee a diamond with a beautiful white colour without yellow complexion. VS2 diamonds contain inclusions that are not or hardly discernible to the naked eye. With SI1 diamonds, it is possible that inclusions can be very slightly discernible, but only under good conditions. In addition, all diamonds we select have a great shine because of their high score in terms of the quality of the cut.

The first combination (G-VS2) will be a little brighter than the second, because of the difference in colour and purity. The second combination can only be found in the jewellery category ‘Classics’ with a minimum of 0.30 ct diamonds.

2. Cut

In terms of the cut grade, we can distinguish different parameters, depending on the diamond shape:

a. Round diamonds

The cut can be divided in three parameters:

  • Cut
  • Polish
  • Symmetry

The Cut grade will always be awarded at least a 'VG' (Very Good) rating. On the parameters of Polish and Symmetry, in most cases you will receive at least 2 times VG or better. Please note that the above mentioned cut grade is the minimum; it can also be that you receive a higher quality (EX cut).

b. Other shapes (princess, oval, cushion, etc.)

All other diamond shapes (round diamonds excluded) have two parameters in terms of cut:

  • Polish
  • Symmetry

You will receive at least 1X VG 1xG, but in most cases 2xVG or better. Please note that the above mentioned Polish & Symmetry grade is the minimum; it can also be that you receive a higher quality (EX polish).

BAUNAT does not only select its diamonds based on the 4 C's you find on the diamond's certificate, but judges the quality of produced light. Because our headquarters are in the heart of the diamond world centre, we can carefully check every diamond. Ultimately we choose the diamonds based on the light they radiate. In other words, we only work with diamonds that shine better than the theoretical proprieties of their certificate (4 C's) would predict.

The combination of our know-how and methods and the fact that diamond industry prices are based on the 4 C's allow us to offer the best price-quality ratio. Only diamonds with a maximal shine will be chosen. A diamond's radiance results from the white light, the movement of light, and the coloured light it reflects.

Diamonds are placed in jewellery pieces in a specific way, so that the table (the top flat part of the diamond) is visible. The bottom part of the diamond, which ends in a cone, usually isn't visible. For instance, in a ring, the bottom part disappears inside the ring. This way, light only enters the diamond from the top of the stone. Because of the specific light refraction of diamonds and the mirror effect of the bottom sides, light will come back out the top of the diamond in all the colours of the rainbow. This process is only maximised if the diamond is cut perfectly, has perfect proportions and if all angles and sides were cut according to the mathematical model of 58 sides.

The diamond will only shine its best if the light is controlled. Otherwise, the light gets lost or disappears in another corner of the diamond.

The cutting process is of course a very difficult, risky and time-consuming process and requires years of expertise. Because all the diamond's growing nerves aren't visible, the work can't be computerised, and is always done by hand. Years of training are required.

Our jewels can carry any shape and size of diamonds: round, princess (square), pear (teardrop) and many others (on demand, see ‘TAILOR MADE’).

Related information:

1. More information on colour, clarity and cut

2. What are the 4C's?

3. Is a diamond a good investment? BAUNAT's expertise in D-E-F colour diamonds

What are conflict diamonds?

Conflict diamonds are diamonds that come from conflict areas, where local militia try to use diamonds to finance their activities. The Kimberley Process Certification System was set up to stop these diamonds to enter the world market by controlling the origin of diamonds from conflict areas.

The Kimberley Process is an international system that regulates the diamond business to guarantee that the diamonds come from conflict-free areas. The Kimberley Certificate guarantees your diamond is not a 'conflict' diamond. It was determined that as from 2008, 99.9% of diamond transactions concerned non-conflict diamonds.

Obviously BAUNAT NV has a zero-tolerance policy towards conflict diamonds. We only buy diamonds through the most respected diamond manufacturers who act in line with the standards set up by the Kimberley Process.

Via this link, you find more information concerning conflict diamonds and the Kimberley Process Certification System.


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