CHOPARD Queen of Kalahari part 1: Plucked from the Desert

Melvyn Teillol-Foo

342 carats Queen of Kalahari diamond model (Photo by Armin Zogbaum)

The Queen of Kalahari [CLICK] stone was discovered at Karowe Mine in Botswana two years ago.

Lucara Diamond Corp took over the mine from De Beers group in 2010 and installed new diamond-recovery XRT system to extract huge gem-quality stones like the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona and 813-carat Constellation diamonds.

Lucara Diamond Corp


The Queen of Kalahari Documentary Film

In 2015, specialist diamond extractor – Ms. TK – spotted a remarkable stone; 342 carats of pure white diamond. It is her mission – finding big diamonds – she thinks about it every day in the bus on the way to work!

Alexis Veller produced and directed a film about The Queen of Kalahari diamond, an exceptional 342-carat stone that produced a set of 23 diamonds by Chopard; the five biggest gems all exceed 20 carats each.

We present excerpts from the film in this series of articles:


The Queen of Kalahari: Journey to Sustainable Luxury [Video]


The Queen of Kalahari: Discovery [Video]



Caroline Scheufele and Alexis Veller

The Purest Diamond for Chopard

Chopard co-president Caroline Scheufele believes the Queen of Kalahari to be the purest of the huge rough diamonds produced at Karowe, so far.  “I was really lucky to put my hand on this one. It’s not the biggest but the others don’t have the same purity,” she said from Chopard’s Geneva workshops, “It’s as white as can be, it has no fluorescence and right from the start it was D colour, Type IIA.”

We all know about the D-grade for colour or actually degree of colourlessness. I had to refer to my junior woodchuck’s guide to gemstones of the world by Walther Schumann to find out what Type IIA meant. Less than 2 per cent of gem-quality diamonds are Type IIA (chemical purity from lack of nitrogen that induces yellow colour).

Caroline Scheufele saw the stone in Botswana in September 2015. “Our partner at the mine called me and said, ‘We’ve found something you should not let pass,'” she remembered.  We can see a crystal replica of the rough diamond about the size of a tennis ball. It is flat along one side which, encourages the hypothesis that it was once larger and cleaved from a similar sized sibling;  the yet undiscovered ‘King of Kalahari’……

“It was an emotional moment when I opened the package,” she says. The moment is recreated in the dramatic 50-minute documentary film by her current squeeze, Alexis Veller.

She had no doubts about buying the stone but had no idea what to do with it. “We could have cut two big 80-carat stones from it and maybe made a pair of drop earrings,” she joked, “Somebody else would have done that, but Chopard is all about creativity. I didn’t just want one piece, I wanted a whole set.”


The Big-5 diamonds from the Queen of Kalahari

What do you do with a giant diamond?

The stone was christened the Queen of Kalahari – with reference to the desert of origin, as well as the female miner who discovered it – Chopard worked out the best combination of stones that would work commercially and still be creative. Clever computer modelling resulted in cutting plans for 23 diamonds of various shapes and sizes, all D-colour and Flawless….The Garden of Kalahari Collection [CLICK].


The Queen of Kalahari: Cutting [Video]


More in Part 2…….

CHOPARD Queen of Kalahari part 2:

CHOPARD Queen of Kalahari part 3


Author’s Biography:  Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)

Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He was also CEO of horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.

Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications.  He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).

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