The largest gem-quality rough diamond to be found on Earth in over a century is coming to auction June 29. Sotheby’s London will present the huge tennis-ball sized gem—dubbed the Lesedi La Rona diamond—in a special stand-alone sale. Second in size only to the 3,106.75 Cullinan diamond (which was cut into nine pieces, two of which are part of the UK Crown Jewels) found in South Africa in 1905, the Lesedi La Rona is 1,109-carats and is thought to be up to 3 billion years old. It was excavated last year in Botswana by Canada’s Lucara Diamond mining company, and it’s name means “our light” in South Africa’s Tswana language. In addition to its epic size, Lesedi La Rona’s transparency is consistent with type IIa diamonds, a rare subgroup that comprises less than 2 percent of all gem diamonds—contributing to the diamond’s more than $70 million presale estimate.
Prior to the London sale, the Lesedi La Rona diamond will be on display May 7 at Sotheby’s New York. (sothebys.com)