The world’s second-biggest diamond found two years ago from Botswana’s Karowe mine has been sold for $53 million to a luxury jeweler. The uncut 1,109-carat diamond named Lesedi La Rona, which means Our Light in the local Tswana language, failed to sell last year at a Sotheby’s auction.
Lucara Diamond Corp. announced the sale and said the price paid is an improvement on the highest bid received at the Sotheby’s auction in June 2016. The buyers, U.K.-based Graff Diamonds said they were thrilled and honored to become the custodians of the diamond.
“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,” Founder of Graff Diamonds Laurence Graff said.
The diamond was found in the south lobe of Canadian company Lucara Diamond’s Karowe Mine about 500 km (310 mi) north of Gaborone in Botswana on 16 November 2015, about 200 m (660 ft) below the surface, and the find was announced on 18 November. A day after the discovery, two more diamonds weighing 813 and 374 carats (162.6 and 74.8 g) were found in the mine.
The mine is located in the Letlhakane region, where three other diamond-producing kimberlite fields have mines named Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa, with the Debswana Diamond Company Ltd. The first diamond from the mine was retrieved in 2012.
The Lesedi La Rona is a colorless/white, type IIa diamond. It weighs 1,111 carats (222.2 g; 7.84 oz) and measures 65 mm × 56 mm × 40 mm (2.6 in × 2.2 in × 1.6 in). In comparison, the Cullinan, discovered in 1905 in South Africa, weighed 3,106.75 carats (621.350 g). The Lesedi La Rona was mined using Large Diamond Recovery (“LDR”) XRT machines and is the largest diamond recovered using machines for automated diamond sorting. It is estimated to be over 2.5 billion years old.
In the months after its discovery, the diamond was exhibited in a world tour in Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, and Antwerp, Belgium, a major centre of the world diamond trade. The Lesedi La Rona is the world’s second-biggest diamond after the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond unearthed in South Africa in 1905. In June 2016, Lesedi La Rona was insured for $120 million.
It was finally sold in September 2017 for $53 million.