You may recall that in September the world’s second largest diamond sold to a London jeweler for $53m (£39.5m). The 1,111-carat stone was named Lesedi La Rona which means “our light” in one of Botswana’s languages. Originally, the stone was recovered by a Canadian diamond company, Lucara Diamond Corp, in Botswana.
Many were surprised when Lucara announced that the uncut stone would be put up at a Sotheby’s auction because it is rare for a diamond sale not to be handled privately. Equally surprising, perhaps, was the fact that the diamond failed to fetch its estimated price of $70 million and instead sold for $20 million dollars less to British luxury jeweler Graff Diamonds.
According to the CEO of Backes & Strauss, a 228-year-old diamond company, it is becoming a trend for high end jewelers to purchase rough diamonds. In days gone by, a jeweler would only acquire a diamond after it had been extracted and shaped by those trained in the art of polishing and crafting diamonds. Now, jewelers are making their own mark on the diamond trade, literally.
This is not the first time Graff has purchased a rough diamond. Using state-of-the-art 3D equipment to search for imperfections called inclusions, the company will begin to determine how the diamond will be eventually polished. To further refine the process, tiny microscopes will be used to detect any other inclusions. From there, decisions on how to cut the diamond will be made. Until then, Lesedi La Rona will remain the world’s most valuable rough diamond.