… nor will the story. Maybe I just can’t let this go, even after I bid the story a fond farewell last week, but I did unexpectedly have an IM interview (my first ever!) with Brett Jolly, the man who was the “spokesman” for the “world’s largest diamond” today.
Jolly is now disavowing the story (well, somewhat … see below.) He says that when the time came to examine the stone, the miners showed him a “lump of green plastic” with a “different color, size and shape” as the one widely shown in pictures. Furthermore, the diamond tester the miner used had its cap on and was rigged: “I tried it on my watch, windscreen and leather coat… everything was a diamond,” Jolly said. The miner’s excuse, according to Jolly: “he was under “terrible pressure” and very stressed.” (I’ll bet!) This pic, from Jolly, shows the tester, cap and all, in action:
Last week I asked why the miners would concoct such an easily disprovable story. Jolly, it turns out, had the same question. He says:
I truly believe [the diamond] is still out there, for ONE reason … If they were going to scam or con me out of money [for the property he was buying], they would have used they same piece of glass or plastic all the way through the scam, WHY use a gemstone first and then a piece of plastic afterwards. .. My logical question is: Why use two different fakes?
He further notes that …
The miners signed a contract with me and Mr. [Ernie] Blom [president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses]. They had 72 hours to produce the stone. That was 3 weeks ago … PLUS they even reported the stone to the Ministry of Mining
Hmm. Of course it’s also possible there was no stone and the people behind the scheme were making it all up as they went along. Not all con artists do it with artistry. Jolly adds …
[The landowners] were at the time trying to sell me a piece of land for $4.5 million rands [when] it was actually worth $2 million rands … I have got the police and authorities involved ….. There are some very heavy hitters from the SA authorities investigating ….The authorities think the stone may have been spirited out of the country.
Well, the truth is out there, though I don’t know if an 8000-carat stone is. We will see.
I should note one more thing: Most mines have machinery that crushes ore over a certain size, for economic reasons. So it would be virtually impossible for a stone like that to come out from one of the big mines. That could partly explain the pull this had on people’s imaginations. The official story (as Jolly heard it) is that the stone was found on the miner’s property, but there is talk that it was smuggled from Zimbabwe, Botswana or elsewhere (something that would violate the Kimberley Process.)
More on this, including a second eyewitness account of all this unraveling, is here.