TORONTO — In the mysterious world of diamond mining, it turns out that some stones are too big to sell. Canada’s Lucara Diamond Corp will have to cut its tennis ball-sized rough diamond to find a buyer, industry insiders say, following Sotheby’s failed auction for the world’s largest uncut stone last summer.
It’s not the ending that William Lamb wanted for his 1,109-carat stone, named ‘Lesedi La Rona’, or ‘Our Light’ in the national language of Botswana where it was mined. “It’s only the second stone recovered in the history of humanity over 1,000 carats. Why would you want to polish it?,” said Lucara’s chief executive.
“The stone in the rough form contains untold potential…As soon as you polish it into one solution, everything else is gone.” Lamb had gambled that ultra-rich collectors, who buy and sell precious art works for record-breaking sums at auction, would do the same with a diamond in the raw.
The unprecedented bet failed. Bidding for the 2.5 to 3 billion year old stone stalled at US$61 million – short of the US$70 million reserve.
“When is a diamond too big? I think we have found that when you go above 1,000 carats, it is too big – certainly from the aspect of analyzing the stones with the technology available,” said Panmure Gordon mining analyst Kieron Hodgson.