World’s second-largest diamond ‘too big’ to sell

Lesedi la Rona is the largest diamond discovered in more than a century, and the second-biggest ever found. (Images courtesy of Sotheby’s)

The world’s second-largest diamond ever found, unearthed by Canada’s Lucara Diamond (TSX:LUC) in Botswana two years ago, will have to be cut after it failed to sell at a Sotheby’s auction last summer.

Bidding for the now historic 1,109-carat “Lesedi La Rona,” which means “our light” in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana, stalled at around $61 million — short of the expected $70 million.

And while Lucara is not in a rush to sell the unique rock, it may never get what it wants for it, as potential buyers now know what the market is willing to pay, Reuters reports.

Lucara’s chief executive William Lamb said another challenge to fetch what the tennis ball-size diamond is worth, is the fact that the polishing itself is risky.

The unsold diamond, he noted, still “weighs heavily” on the company’s shares, which are down more than 30% from late 2016.

World's second-largest diamond too big to sell

The 373.72-carat diamond cut from Lesedi la Rona that sold for $17.5 million in May. (Image courtesy of Graff Diamonds.)

Some experts, such as Rare Diamond House managing director Oded Mansori, believe it would be a mistake for Lucara to hold onto the massive rough diamond, as several players including Gem Diamonds (LON:GEMD), Lucapa (ASX:LOM) and Petra  (LON:PDL) have recently found large precious rocks.

Others believe it’s just too massive to sale. “When is a diamond too big? I think we have found that when you go above 1,000 carats, it is too big — certainly from the aspect of analyzing the stones with the technology available,” Panmure Gordon mining analyst Kieron Hodgson told Reuters.

Lucara’s sales remain healthy. To date it has disposed of 145 diamonds at more than $1 million each, including a 373.7-carat rock that broke off from Lesedi la Rona, which sold for $17.5 million in May.