Sotheby’s has announced it will sell the world’s largest rough diamond at auction in London next month.
Unearthed in Botswana in 2015, the stone weighs a remarkable 1,109 carats and is around the size of a tennis ball.
The ‘Lesedi la Rona’, which translates as "Our Light” in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana, is largest gem-quality rough diamond to be discovered in over a century and is believed to be more than three billion years old.
The diamond will be offered for sale by Sotheby’s in a historic, stand-alone auction in London, where it’s expected to sell for more than $70 million.
"We are very excited to be partnering with Sotheby’s on this landmark auction," said William Lamb, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lucara Diamond Corp., the company that unearthed the stone. "The forthcoming sale presents a unique opportunity to present this extraordinary diamond to a worldwide audience."
Just one larger diamond has ever been discovered – the legendary 3016.75-carat Cullinan Diamond, mined in South Africa in 1905, which produced nine major diamonds now part of the historic British Crown Jewels, including the 530.20 carat Great Star of Africa.
The current world record price for any diamond is $48.46 million, set in November 2015 when property tycoon Joseph Lau bought the 12.03-carat ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’ at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.
"The Lesedi la Rona is simply outstanding and its discovery is the find of a lifetime," said David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Division.
"It is a huge honour for Sotheby’s to have been entrusted with its sale. Every aspect of this auction is unprecedented. Not only is the rough superlative in size and quality, but no rough even remotely of this scale has ever been offered before at public auction."
The Lesedi la Rona diamond will be exhibited at Sotheby’s in New York on 7 May, and then in London from June 18-28, before the sale on June 29.