World's Second-Largest Diamond Sells for $53m

The diamond went up for auction in 2016, but it didn't sell.

It looks like one of those lumps of ice that grow in your refrigerator. But this lump, the second-largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered, just cost someone $53 million.

There’s usually a serious period of contemplation, careful budgeting and protracted discussions before a stone is secured. And that’s just for your everyday two, three, four carats. Imagine the negotiations involved in buying a 1,109-carat rough diamond, the second largest gem-quality stone found in over 100 years. For Laurence Graff, it took over a year, but he has announced that he is the proud owner of the Lesedi La Rona, in a deal valued at $53 million.

In a statement, Graff said the deal “was closed with a handshake after more than a year of negotiations. The gem, which is just smaller than a tennis ball and weighs in at 1,109 carats, went up for auction at Sotheby’s last year, Fortune magazine reported, but failed to meet its $70 million reserve price.

It was worth the wait for Graff, which managed to grab the stone for $8 million less than the $61 million highest bid at the auction.

According to Fortune, Graff already bought a fragment of the Lesedi La Rona earlier this year. The smaller 374-carat diamond was originally part of the larger one, but broke off during the mining process. In its statement, Graff described the purchase as helping to enable a "poignant reunion."

The Karowe mine, where the Lesedi La Rona was found, also yielded the world's most expensive diamond, the 813-carat Constellation, which it Lucara sold to a Dubai company for $63 million, according to The Street. It was later sold to Swiss luxury watchmaker De Grisogono last year for an undisclosed amount.

Experts say that the Lesedi La Rona fetched less money because the stone is likely to be more difficult to cut and has an inferior color to the Constellation.

“If you take the potential outcomes from the stone into consideration, the risk that the buyer is actually taking, you can now see why it wasn’t the easiest one to sell,” Lucara chief executive officer William Lamb told
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