Style / Jewellery

World’s largest uncut diamond sells for $53 million

After a failed Sotheby’s auction, the 1,109-carat diamond has now been sold to British jeweller Graff Diamonds, who already owns a smaller piece of the rough gem.

Sep 28, 2017 | By Pameyla Cambe

What is probably the single most luxurious item in the world has been sold. The item in question is a magnificent 1,109-carat diamond, which was unearthed by Canada’s Lucara Diamond. If you’re wondering, that’s nearly the size of a tennis ball, meaning that this extremely rare gem would sit squarely in the palm of your hand — as if smaller diamonds don’t already take our breaths away.

The Vancouver-based mining company had struck gold while digging up Bostwana’s Karowe mine in late 2015. The discovered stone, which is historically the second largest in size to the 3,106.74 carat Cullinan, is said to be between 2.5 to 3. billion years old. It was given the name “Lesedi La Rona”, which translates to “Our Light” in Bostwana’s national language.

“The discovery of the Lesedi La Rona was a company defining event for Lucara,” said William Lamb, president and chief executive of Lucara. “It solidified the amazing potential and rareness of the diamonds recovered at the Karowe mine.”

So what sort of price tag does the world’s largest currently uncut diamond entail? An eight-figure one, naturally. $53 million to be exact — all of which has been paid for by British jeweller Graff Diamonds. “We are thrilled and honoured to become the new custodians of this incredible diamond,” said company chairman, Laurence Graff, in a statement.

This isn’t Graff Diamond’s first transaction with Lucara involving large, uncut diamonds. Last May, Lucara had sold Graff a rough 373-carat diamond. That diamond was actually a piece of the Lesedi La Rona that had broken off during the recovery process.

It looks like the British brand has now completed its collection. What it ends up doing with the diamond — from analysing to cutting and polishing — is up in the air. Graff’s founder, however, has stated that “the stone will tell us its story, it will dictate how it wants to be cut, and we will take the utmost care to respect its exceptional properties.”

Lucara had previously tried to sell the Lesedi La Rona, but with little luck. In 2016, the rough diamond failed to meet its reserve price of more than $70 million at a Sotheby’s auction, with bidding stopping at $61 million instead.

The diamond’s size was believed to be the reason why it didn’t sell: the process of cutting a diamond of over 1,000 carats would take anywhere between months and years, and most instruments wouldn’t be compatible to analyze the gem for flaws and impurities. It’s a good thing, then, that the diamond is now in Graff’s hands; the company is one of the few ones in the world that has the proficiency to handle a diamond of Lesedi La Rona’s calibre.

 
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