Sotheby’s auctioneer in London says that a diamond the size of a tennis ball may fetch up to $70 million (R1.04 billion) when it goes up for auction in June.
The company said it will auction the 1,109 – carat “Lesedi la Rona” diamond – the largest gem-quality rough diamond to be discovered in over a century, in a stand-alone sale
in London on 29 June 2016.
“Estimated to achieve in excess of $70 million, the Lesedi la Rona (‘Our Light’ in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana) was uncovered by Lucara Diamond Corp in November 2015, at the Karowe mine in Botswana.
“Around the size of a tennis ball (measuring approximately 66.4 x 55 x 42 mm), this colossal rough diamond of exceptional transparency and quality is around 2.5 to over 3 billion years old,” Sotheby’s said.
In terms of its size, the rough diamond is exceeded only by the legendary Cullinan Diamond, mined in South Africa in 1905.
The 3016.75-carat Cullinan Diamond produced nine major diamonds that are part of the historic Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, including the Great Star of Africa – currently the largest top-quality polished diamond in existence, weighing 530.20 carats.
The Lesedi la Rona could surpass the record price for a diamond of $48.5 million, paid by Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau at a Geneva sale last year for the 12.03-carat polished Blue Moon diamond.
Lau wanted the diamond as a gift for his seven-year-old daughter.