Big diamonds – really big ones– dominated the news in May. Christie’s sold the 14.62 carat (ct.) Oppenheimer Blue for the highest price ever paid for any gemstone at auction: $57.5 million. Also, mining company Lucara Diamond Corp. auctioned one of its major finds − a 812.77 ct. rough − for over $63 million and will sell its 1,109 ct. rough diamond named Lesedi La Rona at the end of next month.
Lucara auctioned the 812.7 ct. diamond May 8 with the winning bid going to a Dubai-based firm, Nemesis International. It was a record price for a rough diamond and unlike most diamond tenders, which are outright sales, it was for a 90% share in the stone, with the remainder held by Lucara.
The record price will certainly buoy expectations for Sotheby’s June 29 auction of Lucara’s 1,109 ct. stone – the second largest rough diamond ever found. That auction will be very public, conducted at Sotheby’s in London. Lucara had said it expected to sell for more than $70 million, a safe assumption after the smaller of the two fetched 90% of that price.
As if the Lesedi La Rona’s 1,109 carats (originally reported at 1,111 cts.) were not large enough, the company announced that a 374 ct. rough found the day before had once been part of it. The company said it did not know if the piece broke off naturally or during the mining process.