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Lucara’s 1,109-Carat Rough Diamond May Be Too Big to Sell; Will Mining Company Carve It Up?

When the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona failed to meet its reserve price at Sotheby’s London in June of 2016, the disappointing result was the first signal that the massive diamond was just too big to sell. The final bid of $61 million fell short of the $70 million reserve price.

Now, 13 months later, diamond-industry insiders are buzzing about the likelihood that Canada-based Lucara Diamond Corp., which mined the stone in Botswana, will have to carve up the world’s largest rough diamond in order to attain its maximum value.

Originally, Lucara and its chief executive William Lamb were hoping that Lesedi La Rona’s buyer would forgo the opportunity to process the large rough into many smaller diamonds — and leave it in its natural state. Instead of working with members of the upper echelon of the diamond trade, Lamb decided to put the huge diamond on the international stage at Sotheby’s. He was confident a deep-pocketed collector would appreciate the historical significance of the gem and essentially leave it alone.

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