1,109-Carat diamond expected to sell for more than $70M

Michelle Graff

The tennis-ball sized rough diamond unearthed in Botswana in November is going up for auction at Sotheby’s London in June, and it is expected to sell for more than $70 million.

Discovered at Lucara Diamond Corp.’s Karowe Mine, the 1,109.67-carat stone, named “Lesedi la Rona,” or “Our Light,” is the largest rough diamond found since the 3,016.75-carat Cullinan Diamond in 1905. (The diamond was 1,111 carats when first unearthed but lost about 2 carats during the cleaning process, which is normal, a Sotheby’s spokesperson said.)

The Cullinan yielded nine major diamonds, all of which were set in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, including the 530.20-carat pear-shaped Great Star of Africa. The Star is the largest “top quality,” meaning high color and clarity, polished diamond in the world. (The world’s largest cut and polished diamond of any color is the 545.67-carat Golden Jubilee, which is a brown stone.)

But the record held by the Star could soon fall.

Sotheby’s said it commissioned independent reports on the potential yield of Lesedi la Rona from the Gem Certification and Assurance Lab (GCAL), the New York-based grading laboratory run by Don Palmieri, and Diamex Inc./Crodiam Consulting DMCC.

While the reports are not being made public at this time, a few details were released on Wednesday, including the fact that experts believe that the Lesedi la Rona could top the Great Star of Africa in size.

The reports also state that there is a “high probability” that the polished diamonds cut from the 1,109-carat rough will be D color.

Lucara 1111cts
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Source National Jeweler