The world’s second largest rough cut diamond, the size of a tennis ball, is expected to be valued at more than CAD$90 million at auction.
Weighing in at 1111 carats, the diamond was discovered at Lucara Diamond Corp’s Karowe mine in Botswana late last year, and named Lesedi la Rona which translates to “our light” in the local Tswana language.
The miner also uncovered the sixth largest single diamond, at 813 carats, soon after.
Lucara CEO William Lamb said, “This is historic. It is the only plus thousand carat stone in existence,” according to The Canadian Press.
The diamond is on a world tour before its auction, with Lamb saying they want to give access to people who want it as a collector’s item.
“We’re looking at people who have the financial resources, but also see the uniqueness, the rarity, and the beauty in the stone,” he said.
Whoever gets the diamond will have the option of having the stone cut and polished, cut into smaller pieces, or have it retain its rough cut.
“If you ask me, I wouldn’t cut it,” Lamb said, “it is unique.”
The only diamond larger than Lesedi la Rona was the 3106 carat Cullinan diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1905. It was cut into nine pieces, and forms part of the UK crown jewels.
Although the Cullinan diamond was unearthed using only a pen knife, Lamb said the recently discovered gem survived several modern excavating processes.
Chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery division David Bennett, dubbed it “the find of a lifetime” as a rough diamond of that size has never been auctioned before.
The diamond could beat the current record auction price, after the 12.03 carat Blue Moon diamond fetched US$48.5 million.