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On January 26, 1905, miners in South Africa unearthed the Cullinan diamond, the largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered.
 
Diamonds are minerals that form from an unusual type of magma, called kimberlite, deep in Earth’s mantle. Kimberlite forms in a deeper area of the mantle, is subjected to greater pressure, and contains more water and carbon dioxide than most magmas. Diamonds form as kimberlite violently erupts on Earth’s surface.
 
The Cullinan diamond, a whopping 3,106 carats and weighing about 621 grams (1.4 pounds), was cut into nine stones. The largest, nicknamed Cullinan I or the “Great Star of Africa,” is 530 carats. Today, the Great Star of Africa sits at the top of a scepter, part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
carat
Noun

unit of weight, used for gems, about 200 milligrams.

diamond
Noun

type of crystal that is pure carbon and the hardest known natural substance.

erupt
Verb

to explode or suddenly eject material.

gem
Noun

mineral, rock, or organic material that can be cut and polished for use in jewelry.

kimberlite
Noun

type of magma or igneous rock associated with diamonds.

Noun

molten, or partially melted, rock beneath the Earth's surface.

Noun

middle layer of the Earth, made of mostly solid rock.

miner
Noun

person who excavates metal or other materials from the Earth.

mineral
Noun

inorganic material that has a characteristic chemical composition and specific crystal structure.

rock
Noun

natural substance composed of solid mineral matter.

scepter
Noun

symbolic staff or rod carried by a monarch or other ruler.

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