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Lesedi La Rona Diamond Assigned $70M+ Auction Price Tag

Sotheby’s to Auction World’s Second-Largest Rough Diamond in London in June

May 4, 2016 11:25 AM   By Rapaport News
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The world’s second-largest gem-quality rough diamond in history is expected to fetch “in excess of” $70 million at a Sotheby’s auction later this year.

The 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, mined by Lucara Diamond Corp. last November, will go under the hammer at a standalone auction in London on June 29. About the size of a tennis ball, it has the potential to yield the largest “top-quality” polished diamond in existence, Sotheby’s said, citing independent reports.

The Gemological Institute of America said the rough diamond has “top color and transparency” and a “limpid” appearance commonly associated with type-IIa gems, a subgroup that makes up 2 percent of all gem diamonds.

“Every aspect of this auction is unprecedented,” said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division. “Not only is the rough superlative in size and quality, but no rough even remotely of this scale has ever been offered before at public auction.”

The auction will be preceded by a viewing at Sotheby’s New York on May 7 and at Sotheby’s London from 18 until 28 June. United Arab Emirates newspaper The National reported the diamond was on display in Dubai last week. The sale process is already is generating “a great deal of interest and excitement for this magnificent, historic stone,” William Lamb, Lucara’s president and chief executive officer, said.

Lucara has revised the diamond’s weight from an original figure of 1,111 carats when it found the stone at its Karowe mine in Botswana. The gem is the largest diamond recovered since the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond found in South Africa in 1905.

Lamb told Bloomberg at the time of the discovery that he anticipated the diamond would fetch “north of $60 million.” A sale would significantly boost Lucara’s revenue for 2016, which it forecasts at $200 million to $220 million excluding the anticipated sales of the Lesedi La Rona and an 813-carat diamond it also found in November.

Lucara also reported first-quarter revenue soared 71 percent year on year to $50.6 million, with the average price of diamonds rising from $278 per carat to $649 per carat. Following the end of the quarter, sales were boosted by a $51.3 million exceptional stone tender last month.

Image: Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Sotheby's
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Tags: Auctions, Exceptional Stones, Karowe mine, Lesedi La Rona, lucara, Lucara Diamond Corp, Rapaport News, Rough Diamonds, Sotheby's
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