Fifth-largest gem quality diamond in history sold for $40 million

The 910-carat diamond, named “The Lesotho Legend,” sold for $40 million in Antwerp. (Image courtesy of Gem Diamonds.)

The world’s fifth biggest gem-quality diamond ever found was sold for $40 million on Monday, the company that found the massive rock said.

Africa-focused Gem Diamonds (LON:GEMD) dug up the D colour, Type IIa rough diamond, which is about the size of two golf balls, at its flagship Letšeng mine in Lesotho in January.

The rock, named “The Lesotho Legend,” was acquired by an unnamed buyer in Antwerp, Belgium, the company said.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has found now five of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered and several 100-carat-plus stones, which makes it the world’s highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation.

So far this year, Gem Diamonds has found six rocks bigger than 100 carats each.

One of those rocks, a 357-carat stone found in 2015, sold for $19.3 million.

Only last week, Gem Diamonds announced it had dug up a 152-carat, top white colour type IIa diamond, the sixth major find so far this year.

In contrast, it discovered only seven diamonds bigger than 100 carats for the whole of 2017 and five the year before.

Previous to “The Lesotho Legend,” the biggest precious rock found at Letšeng was the 603-carat Lesotho Promise, dug up in 2006.

At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s highest diamond mines.

The biggest diamond ever found was the 3,106-carat Cullinan, dug near Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905. It was later cut into several stones, including the First Star of Africa and the Second Star of Africa, which are part of Britain’s Crown Jewels held in the Tower of London. Lucara’s 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona was the second-biggest in record, while the 995-carat Excelsior and 969-carat Star of Sierra Leone were the third- and fourth-largest.