At long last, Lucara Diamond has sold the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona - the largest rough diamond in existence - recovered from the Karowe mine in Botswana on November 16 2015, for $53 million ($47,777 per carat) to Graff Diamonds. Called "too big to sell" after bidding for the 2.5 to 3 billion year old stone stalled at $61 million - short of the estimated $70 million reserve - at the June 2016 Sotheby's auction, and after more than a year of seeking to find the right buyer, Graff Diamonds has stepped in to purchase the historic diamond, completing their acquisition of the entire original stone in so doing. The most exceptional rough diamond in the world has found a home.
In May 2017, Graff also acquired a 373.72 carat rough from Lucara which is said to have once been part of the largest gem quality diamond ever discovered. In 2016, Graff was reportedly on record as being against the unprecendented public auction of the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona, which went against the conventional way of trading rough diamonds, but has now acquired the ultimate target, stating, "We are thrilled and honoured to become the new custodians of this incredible diamond. 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."
William Lamb, President and CEO, comments, "The discovery of the Lesedi La Rona was a company defining event for 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."