The current positon of the largest rough diamond is held by ‘Lesedi La Rona’ a whopping 1,109 carat uncut diamond mined by Lucara Diamond Corp. back in November 2015. It was unearthed at its Karowe mine in Botswana. The gem is the size of a tennis ball and has exceptional transparency and quality. The name, ‘Lesedi La Rona’ means ‘Our Light’ in the national language of Botswana.
The diamond was auctioned at Sotheby’s auction house in London last summer. However, things did not turn up as planned. The diamond was expected to surpass its USD 70 million reserve price in the bidding process. But, instead it fall short of USD 9 million and the bidding closed at USD 61 million.
One of the main reasons for it to go unsold could be the heavy costs that come with the additional refining and cutting processes that go on for years and the changing consumer demand. Lack of infrastructure and wish to invest in the polishing process were also stated as some of the factors.
Lucara’s chief executive, William Lamb said, “It’s only the second stone recovered in the history of humanity over 1,000 carats. Why would you want to polish it? The stone in the rough form contains untold potential…As soon as you polish it into one solution, everything else is gone.”
To sell this diamond, Lucara may need to cut it. Lucara has many options to partner with one or more companies to cut and sell the stone. They have a plethora of options including Cora International, Diamcad, Lev Levive, Mouawad, Tache Diamonds, Optimum Diamonds, the Angolan President’s daughter Isobel Dos Santos, Swissdiam International and Rare Diamond House (RDH). But, Lamb thinks otherwise and believes that polishing Lesedi is risky.
Newer technologies is making way for other diamond mining companies like Gem Diamonds, Lucapa Diamonds, Petra Diamonds and Letseng Diamond to explore their mines for larger stones.
Oded Mansori, Managing director at RHD says, “It would be a mistake for Lucara to hold onto the Lesedi. Maybe next week, there will be a larger stone. Miners have more advanced technology; this is why we see these large stones coming up all of a sudden. I think that Mother Nature has some more surprises waiting for us.”
Lucara Diamond themselves have installed a Large Diamond Recovery Machine. Along with Lesedi, they also unearthed an 813 carat and a 374 carat stones. Both were later sold to a Dubai trading company for USD 63 million and to Graff for USD 17.5 million respectively.
While there is a mixed opinion whether Lesedi should be cut or not, Lucara’s stocks are suffering and were noted to be down by 30 percent from last year.