RAPAPORT… Lucara Diamond Corp. has sold the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona
to Graff Diamonds for $53 million — a price well below what the miner initially
wanted for the record-breaking stone.
Graff spent $47,777 per carat on the rough diamond, the
second-largest in the history of the trade and the biggest that any company has
unearthed in Botswana, Lucara said Monday.
Lucara recovered the diamond at its Karowe mine in November
2015. It then failed to sell the stone at a Sotheby’s auction in London
in June 2016, where its estimated price was $70 million or higher. The company later said it would aim to sell the rock in the
first half of this year.
“We took our time to find a buyer who would take the diamond
through its next stage of evolution,” Lucara CEO William Lamb said. “The price
paid is also an improvement on the highest bid received at the Sotheby’s
auction in June 2016.”
A total of three diamonds Lucara recovered at Karowe in
November 2015 have sold for a combined value of more than $130 million, the
rough producer added.
“This is more than it cost to build the mine, and again
demonstrates how incredible the Karowe mine is,” a company spokeperson said in
an email to Rapaport News.
Graff is a prolific buyer of large stones. In May, it
acquired a 373.72-carat rough that was once part of the Lesedi La Rona before the shard fell off pre-production.
“The stone will tell us its story — it will dictate how it
wants to be cut, and we will take the utmost care to respect its exceptional
properties,” said Laurence Graff, the company’s founder and chairman. “This is a
momentous day in my career, and I am privileged to be given the opportunity to
honor the magnificent natural beauty of the Lesedi La Rona.”