World's Second Largest Rough Diamond Too Big to Sell

Lesedi la Rona is the largest diamond discovered in more than a century, and the second-biggest ever found.

A Canadian diamond-mining company may be forced to cut its prize diamond after failing to find a buyer at Sotheby’s last summer, but the firm’s executives are biding their time before making a decision.

Lucara Diamond Corp had hoped the 1,109-carat stone, only the second of its size ever discovered, would be snapped up by ultra-rich collectors but the bidding failed to surpass the $70 million reserve price, the minimum price the seller will accept.

“The stone in rough form contains untold potential,”said Lucara’s chief executive William Lamb. “As soon as you polish it into one solution, everything is gone.”

Polishing a diamond is thought to be risky as it can produce unpredictable results in terms of color, weight and clarity.

The 2.5 billion-year-old stone, known as ‘Our Light’, or ‘Lesedi La Rona’ in the Tswana language of Botswana, its country of origin, will now be put through a cutting process that could take years.

The diamond is fast becoming a burden on the company – their stock price is down 30 percent since since late last year – and Lamb believes the firm may have to bring in a partner to help cut and sell the stone.

"We've already done our homework," he said. "You don't take a stone like this and give it to the second best."

In May, Lucara sold a 373-carat rough diamond to luxury jeweller Graff Diamonds for a reported $17.5 million. The stone had been part of the Lesedi la Rona but became separated from it during the recovery process.

“Every diamond has an inner script that we must read and respect,” Laurence Graff, founder of the London-based high jewelry brand, said in a statement at the time. “We will now spend time discovering the secrets of this magnificent stone. Knowing that nature has given us this extraordinary gift, we take on the great responsibility of releasing its inner beauty.”

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