In a blockbuster auction deal, the second largest gem-quality diamond in the world has finally sold at auction for a staggering $53 million dollars to Graff Diamonds. The Lesede Le Rona is the largest diamond unearthed in the last century, and many in the diamond world have been anxiously waiting to see how this stone would fare at auction.
Here are the details on this incredible diamond and its recent history:
The Lesede Le Rona is a 1,111 carat uncut stone that was originally mined in Botswana by the Canadian Lucara Diamond Corporation. At the time of mining, the stone was so large that analysts couldn’t even set its price (the diamond was actually too large to fit inside of conventional diamond scanners).
For perspective – the Lesede Le Rona is roughly the same size as a tennis ball and could have been even bigger if a smaller 373-carat diamond had stayed attached to the original.
However, the size isn’t the only thing that makes this diamond truly exceptional. The Lesede Le Rona is an extremely high-quality diamond with great transparency, which made the find even more surprising and rare.
Diamond cutters will initially cut the smaller, detached stone to learn more about how to approach the larger stone and maximize its potential.
The only diamond in the world that is larger than the Lesede Le Rona is the 3,106-carat Cullian diamond that was found in South Africa over 100 years ago.
To get the name for the Lesede Le Rona (meaning “Our Light” in the Botswanian national language of Setswana), Lucara held a public contest that received over 11,000 entries.
The contest was a sensation for Botswana, as the Lesede Le Rona had become a symbol of national pride.
Unfortunately, the first Sotheby’s auction did not go well for the Lesede Le Rona. Lucara initially estimated that the stone would sell for nearly $70 million.
While some bidders did show up for the first auction, none of them met the undisclosed minimum bid set by Lucara. When the stone had originally been mined Lucara’s stock price had doubled, but after the failed auction the company’s stock price plummeted over 40%.
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