1,109 carat & $70 Million – World’s 2nd Largest Diamond

May 9th, 2016 by Noam Flint

The largest diamond to be discovered in over a century is the 1,109 carat Lesedi la Rona diamond that was discovered in Botswana by Canadian mining company Lucara Diamond Corporation in November. It will go up for auction on June 29 at Sotheby’s in London and if it will live up to Sotheby’s expectations – this diamond will dominate the list of world’s most expensive diamonds.

The Lesedi La Rona Diamond by Lucara
The Lesedi La Rona on display at Sotheby’s
Image credit: Sotheby’s

Due to its massive size and the fact that no diamond like this has ever gone up for auction in history, Sotheby’s’ rough estimate for the selling price of the diamond is $70 million. The auction house calls the diamond “the find of a lifetime” and says that it is the second largest gem-quality diamond to ever be discovered.

Enormous Expectations in the Rough

Sotheby’s expects that the 1,109 carat diamond will yield the largest top-quality diamond that has ever been cut and polished. Currently, the largest diamond that was ever known to be discovered is the 3,106 carat Cullinan diamond that was unearthed in South Africa in 1905 and cut into 9 smaller diamonds that were incorporated in the British Crown Jewels. This would make the Lesedi La Rona (Tswanian for “our light”) the largest rough and polished diamond to be owned by anyone aside from the British monarchy.

The auction house is anticipating the diamond to substantially break the record set by the Blue Moon of Josephine diamond in November, which sold for a total of $48.5 million. The $70 million predicted price is significantly higher, and that is just for the rough version of this diamond. If the diamond is polished to the projected 400 carat final product which is predicted for it, its price will rise in tandem as the polish on the diamond adds major value to the diamond itself.

Seeing as how no 400 carat diamond has ever been sold (especially not at auction, and especially not to the public at large), it is extremely hard to put a value on it. When the time comes, the principles of market demand will be what determine the diamond’s final value: the highest value that anyone is willing to pay for it.

For proportions though (or for the sake of fair play), it is important to note that the weight of the Blue Moon is 12.03 carats – showing once again the it’s all about the diamond’s color.

Lesedi La Rona Diamond Size by Lucara
The 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona in its rough state
Image credit: Lucara Diamonds

The Lesedi La Rona Diamond Takes the Tour

In the meantime, the Lesedi La Rona remains in its rough state and will tour the world before it is finally offered for auction at Sotheby’s in London. It is attracting enormous amounts of attention due to its size and much speculation as to how it can be cut to maximize its carat weight, its color, and its clarity. Whomever purchases it will need a team of expert diamond polishers to study it carefully and will then take up to a year to polish it to perfection. Most likely, as soon as it is finished it will return to the public eye for sale once again. We can’t wait to see its final price and how it is ultimately polished!

What do you think? Will the Lesedi La Rona sell for $70 million? Is there anyone with the money to pay that much for just a rough diamond?