A tennis ball-sized diamond is going on the auction block at Sotheby's in June and could draw bids of more than $70 million, reported Bloomberg
The 1,109-caret diamond was found in Botswana last year and has been named Lesedi La Rona, which means "our light" in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana, said Bloomberg. Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond Corp., which unearthed the rock, is expected to receive 48 percent of the proceeds after taxes.
"More than a century has passed since a stone of this magnificence was recovered," said Sotheby's website
. "Lucara Diamond and Sotheby's have the pleasure to present Lesedi La Rona – 'Our Light' – a diamond of the purest form. Historical in its recovery, brilliant in its appearance."
Sotheby's told CNN
the gem is the largest rough, gem-quality diamond in existence today and has been estimated to be from 2.5 billion and 3 billion years old.
"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," said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's Jewellery Division.
Despite Sotheby's superlatives, Lesedi La Rona is only the second largest diamond. The larger Cullinan diamond was cut as the Great Star of Africa diamond in the British Crown jewels, noted Bloomberg.
The diamond will be displayed in New York on Saturday and in London June 18-28 before the auction, Sotheby's told CNN.
"If you can imagine the number of places on this planet where diamonds are mined for the last 100 years, Australia, Canada, Russia, South Africa, Brazil, to name a few, this is the largest one in that 100 years," Bennett told Reuters
. "It really just soared off the scale of rare into something just, one off, it's just unique."
Bloomberg said Lucara's stock jumped 8.4 percent in Toronto and has gained 52 percent in 2016. The mining company's stock leaped 30 percent on Nov. 19 after the announcement of the diamond's discovery.
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