12.47 carat Blue Diamond from Letseng Mine Sold for Record Price

October 15th, 2013 by Noam Flint

Blue diamonds are among the rarest stones in the world, so who wouldn’t want a chance to purchase their own rough stone and provide input on polishing it to perfection? That’s exactly why some of these valuable colored diamonds recently made waves on the open market. A rare rough blue diamond was found in Lesotho a few weeks ago, and a short time later it sold at a diamond tender in Europe for a stunning price.

Diamond discoveries stop the presses

Lesotho’s Letseng mine made headlines when it announced the discovery of two exceptional diamonds at the end of September. The mine, which is owned by London-based Gem Diamonds, was the site of discovery for a 12.47-carat blue diamond and an 83.9-carat white diamond.

“Letseng continues to recover large, white, largely undamaged diamonds on a relatively consistent basis, as well as the occasional rare blue or pink diamond,” said Gem Diamonds CEO Clifford Elphick at the time of the discovery, as quoted by Mining Weekly.

Rare diamonds sell for high prices

At the time of the announcement, Gem Diamonds also revealed that the blue and white diamond would go up for sale at the Letseng tenders, which were held in Antwerp, Belgium. The sales were rightfully publicized, and at the end of the day these stones contributed to a record haul for the company.

The blue diamond found at the Letseng mine recently sold for a record amount. With a weight of 12.47 carats, the precious gem sold for $7.5 million. Not only is that the highest price for a stone ever recovered at the mine, but it also means the diamond brought in $603,000 per carat (in the rough!!!). That is an extremely impressive figure, especially considering the 82-carat white diamond found at the mine only sold for $4.8 million, or $59,000 per carat.

Although the white diamond was of remarkable quality and size, it was still not as rare as a colored diamond. However, both stones are extremely special finds, and there is a good chance the public will be hearing more about them in the future.

Gem Diamonds did not unveil who was lucky enough to buy either of these diamonds, but that doesn’t mean jewelry lovers are going to be left out of the loop. The blue diamond still needs to be cut and polished, and as experts from around the world weigh in on the style that will be best for this stone, more details about the project may come out. Once the effort is complete, the item may even go back on the market as a gorgeous polished diamond.

We can’t help wondering how it would look like after being polished. Blue diamonds often come with secondary hue of gray (top left image) or green (bottom left). Also, there is a vast difference in the color due to different intensity levels. See below the intense blue (top right) compared to the fancy (bottom right)… In the meanwhile, you can join us in speculating.

Fancy Gray Blue Diamond
Fancy Intense Blue Diamond
Fancy Intense Green Blue Diamond
Fancy Blue Diamond

The Satellite pipe

These incredible stones were found in the area in and around Satellite pipe at the Letseng mine. The discoveries have encouraged Gem Diamonds to continue mining in this area – in fact, the company will focus almost exclusively on combing through the Satellite pipe for other exemplary finds for the rest of the year in an attempt to find more large white and colored diamonds.

“Letseng continues to achieve such outstanding prices for its exceptional diamonds, and we continue to expect recovers of such high-quality diamonds as mining at Letseng continues to focus more on the higher-grade, higher-value Satellite pipe towards the end of 2013 and into 2014,” said Elphick.

Jewelry lovers should pay attention as mining efforts in Lesotho, and especially the Satellite pipe, hold strong. If the past is any indication, many more precious gems may be found in this area in the near future, and they could certainly make a bigger splash throughout the diamond industry.

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