Sotheby's to auction the largest gem-quality rough diamond of the century
May 5, 2016: In a stand-alone sale, Sotheby’s is to auction one of the greatest finds of the century – the 1109-carat rough diamond, Lesedi la Rona.
Mined by Lucara Diamond Corp. in Botswana in November, last year, the rough could possibly deliver the largest top-quality polished gem up to date. Estimated to exceed $70 million, Lesedi La Rona (“Our Light” in the Tswana language) is the size of a tennis ball, exceptionally transparent and around 2.5 – 3 billion years old.
A representative of the extraordinarily pure type IIa diamonds, a coveted subgroup that accounts for only 2% of all gem diamonds, the discovery is the first in over a century. In dimensions and qualities, Lesedi la Rona dims only to the 3016.75-carat Culllinan Diamond, unearthed in 1905 in South Africa and split into nine major diamonds that are now part of the United Kingdom’s Crown Jewels.
Lesedi la Rona will be on view at Sotheby’s New York on May 7 and at Sotheby’s London from June 18 – 28, before it goes to auction on June 29, 2016 in London.