Botswana’s Lesedi la Rona diamond finally sold
By Mpho Tebele
Gaborone – The Lucara Diamonds said on Monday, September 25, that it has finally sold the 1,109 carat diamond that was christened Lesedi la Rona to the British multinational jeweller, Graff Diamonds for $53 million (approximately P542m).
The historic diamond was recovered from the Karowe mine in Botswana in November 2015.
Commenting on the latest development President and CEO of Lucara Diamonds Corp, William Lamb, said the discovery of the Lesedi La Rona was a company’s defining event.
“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,” he said.
He said 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,” said Lamb.
Chairman of Graff Diamonds, Laurence Graff said they were thrilled and honoured to become the new custodians of such an 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,” he said.
The sale of the historic diamond comes at a time when Botswana Government is amending the law to give the state the first option to buy ‘unusual’ diamond finds such as Lesedi La Rona discovered at Karowe Mine two years ago.
The draft Bill for amending the Precious and Semi-Precious Stones Act contains a new clause that compels any producer that comes into possession of an unusual rough or uncut diamond to notify the minister within 30 days following which government shall have the right of first refusal to the stone.
“The price to be paid by government for a rough or uncut precious stone offered for sale by the producer shall be agreed between the parties in accordance with the current market price of the rough or uncut precious stone,” read the Bill.
Lucara said the proposed law giving the Botswana government priority to buy large rough diamonds would not affect the company.
Lucara agrees with the policy “as a way for both the government and the company to achieve sustainable revenue at market prices for the sale of its diamonds,” it said last week.