Almost exactly two years after its discovery, Lucara Diamond Corp. has found a buyer for the “Lesedi La Rona,” the 1,109-carat rough diamond unearthed at its mine in Botswana.
The mining company announced late Monday that Graff Diamonds, the London-headquartered company headed by billionaire diamantaire Laurence Graff (no relation to the author), has paid $53 million for the tennis ball-sized stone.
That works out to $47,777 per carat and is $17 million less than what Lucara originally aimed to get for the diamond when it put it up for auction in June 2016, though Lucara President and CEO William Lamb noted that $53 million is more than the highest bid received at the auction.
In the news release issued Monday, Graff called the purchase of Lesedi La Rona a “momentous day” in his career.
“We are thrilled and honored to become the new custodians of this incredible 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. This is a momentous day in my career, and I am privileged to be given the opportunity to honor the magnificent natural beauty of Lesedi La Rona,” he said.
Graff Diamonds already owns a 373.72-carat chunk that broke off the Lesedi La Rona. The company paid $17.5 million for that rough diamond ($46,827 per carat) at Lucara’s exceptional stone tender held in May.