Canadian company Lucara Diamond Corp. has just announced that an entirely exceptional diamond they found last year in Botswana has sold for €55.3 million. That is an astounding €68, 092 per carat.
The sale is the highest price ever achieved for a rough diamond, breaking all records. The diamond is Type IIa, one of the rarest types of diamond, with little or no impurities and no colour. The magnificent stone, which originated from Lucara’s Karowe Mine in Botswana, is 813 carats in total.
The diamond has been named “The Constellation” and is the world’s second-largest gem quality diamond ever recovered, and the largest ever retrieved in Botswana. The stone is about the size of a tennis ball, although this isn’t a stone you’d want to play around with!
The fantastic find was recovered using new super-high-tech equipment called a Large Diamond Recovery XRT machine. William Lamb, the President and CEO of Lucara Diamond Corp said that the recovery of a gem quality stone larger than 1,000 carats is the largest for more than a century. “Our focus on mining the south lobe, which is delivering value beyond expectation, has been perfectly timed with the commissioning of our recent plant modifications, enabling the recovery of these large, high quality exceptional diamonds.”
As part of the sale, Lucara retains a 10% interest in the net profit received from the sale of the resultant polished diamonds.
But that’s not the end of the Lucara story. Not only have the diamond corporation just sold the world’s most fabulously expensive diamond, they have another in their pocket: the spectacular 1,109 carat “Lesedi La Rona” diamond will go up for auction by Sotheby’s in London on June 29 this year.
The Lesedi La Rona is also from the Karowe mine in Botswana. The colourless type IIa diamond is expected to fetch a much higher price than the Constellation when it goes to auction. The stone was so big when they retrieved it, that it was too large for the company’s own scanners, so it had to be sent abroad for assessment.
The diamond was first given a generic name after the mine (Karowe) and the pipe (AK6) where it was found. But on 18 January 2016, Lucara Diamonds announced a competition; open to all Botswana citizens, to name the stone. In addition to naming the diamond, the winner would receive €1,900.
On 9 February 2016, Lucara picked the winning name of Lesedi La Rona. It means “Our Light” in the Tswana language.
According to Sotheby’s, it is the largest rough diamond discovered since the 3,106-carat “Cullinan” Diamond was unearthed in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905. The Cullinan was a large gem-quality diamond that was cut into several polished gems, the largest of which is named Cullinan I or the “Great Star of Africa.” It is the largest polished white diamond in the world.
Both Cullinan I and Cullinan II or the “Second Star of Africa” are in the Crown Jewels, which are part of the Royal Collection held in trust by Queen Elizabeth II for her successors and the nation. Seven other diamonds cut from the original belong to the Queen personally.
Perhaps the Queen might bid for the Lesedi La Rona in June? We will be watching closely, that’s for sure.