British jeweller Graff said on Tuesday that it has purchased the world’s largest uncut diamond — roughly the size of a tennis ball — for $53 million or US$47,777 per carat. Canadian miner Lucara Diamond sold to Graff the 1,109-carat gem, the Lesedi La Rona, which was found in Botswana’s Karowe mine in November 2015.
“We are thrilled and honoured to become the new custodians of this incredible diamond,” said company chairman, Laurence Graff, in a statement. 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.”
“This is a momentous day in my career, and I am privileged to be given the opportunity to honour the magnificent natural beauty of the Lesedi La Rona,” he added.
Lucara confirmed the hefty price tag in a statement issued in Vancouver.
“The discovery of the Lesedi La Rona was a company defining event for Lucara,” said William Lamb, president and chief executive of Lucara.
“It solidified the amazing potential and rareness of the diamonds recovered at the Karowe mine. We took our time to find a buyer who would take the diamond through its next stage of evolution.
“The price paid is also an improvement on the highest bid received at the Sotheby’s auction in June 2016. Graff Diamonds is now the owner of the Lesedi La Rona as well as the 373-carat diamond purchased earlier this year, which formed part of the original stone. We are excited to follow these diamonds through the next stage of their journey,” the statement read.
Lesedi La Rona means “our light” in Botswana’s Tswana language. It could be cut into smaller gems for jewellery or left whole in a private collection.