Advanced Search

Huge Diamond Made Rookie Sorter Want to Scream

Jun 20, 2016 10:25 AM   By Rapaport News
Email Email Print Print Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Share Share

The 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona diamond was discovered by a 27-year-old trainee who had worked at Lucara Diamond Corp. for fewer than five months, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Tiroyaone Mathaba found the gem while working as a sorter, examining rock and sand produced by large diamond recovery machines.

“At first I wanted to scream,” the news report cited Mathaba as saying. “Then I said in a low hoarse voice 'God, it’s a diamond! It’s a diamond, it’s a big diamond!’”

On that morning in November, the machines were not working well, he told the U.K. daily.

“We were experiencing a near blockage. I was having to work quite hard,” he said. His eye was then caught by an object which initially just looked like a stone, the Daily Telegraph reported.

On closer examination he recognized it was a diamond. Mathaba passed the gem on to his on-the-job trainer, who quickly estimated it to be 400 carats. Feeling it must be bigger, he called in Nkoke Tshupo, the mine’s chief sorter, who had been off duty. Tshupo passed the diamond to the senior process engineer and then the geology department of Lucara. The verdict was that Mathaba’s discovery was the second biggest diamond ever found.

The diamond will be up for auction at Sotheby's in London on June 29 with an estimated price of more than $70 million.

“Everyone looks forward to coming to work, it’s been a breath of new life,” he said of the mood at the mine since the find.

Image: Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Sotheby's
Tags: large diamonds, Lesedi La Rona, lucara, Lucara Diamond Corp., Rapaport News, Rough Diamonds, Sotheby's, Tiroyaone Mathaba
Similar Articles