In a stroke of good fortune, the Lucara Diamond firm discovered the world's second-largest diamond of gem quality in Botswana. This 1,111-carat diamond is second only to the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond found in South Africa in 1905. The gem measures 65mm x 56mm x 40mm and was recovered from the Karowe mine located north of the capital Gaborone.
This diamond (Karowe AK6), the largest found in over a century, has yet to be evaluated and thus far has no price tag or potential buyer. The diamond rates as a Type-IIa stone and is roughly the size of a tennis ball. It is extremely hard to estimate the value of the diamond given the unknown color, clarity, and cutting.
To provide an estimate of final selling price, Lucara recently sold a 341.9-carat diamond of roughly the same quality for $20.6 million, equaling out to $60,251 per carat. If you were to extrapolate the same cost per carat for the newly found 1,111-carat diamond, it could sell for a whopping $66.9 million!
"This has been an amazing week for Lucara with the recovery of the second largest and also the sixth largest gem quality diamonds ever mined," William Lamb, chief executive officer of Lucara. On the wave of this news, Lucara's stock price rose 32%, adding $150 million to its market value.
Where does the diamond go next?
With a diamond of this caliber the process of determining a tender, getting it cut, polished, and sold will likely take years to complete. Lucara found that the diamond was too big to fit within their in-house scanner and thus requires a larger 3rd party scanner.
A 1,111-carat diamond is shown against a hand lens for scale. The diamond was discovered in the Karowe mine in Botswana. Credit: Lucara Diamond Corp)
The eventual fate of the diamond may be as several smaller cut diamonds. The Cullinan diamond was cut into many different stones, including the Great Star of Africa, for the British royalty's crown jewels. The diamond will be scanned and rendered in 3D to determine the best use of the diamond and how many pieces to cut it into.
The diamond market has been hot lately, with Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau paying $48.4 million for a 12.03-carat blue diamond. The most expensive diamond that was ever sold at auction was the "PinkStar" pink diamond for $82 million in 2013.
Lucara's fortune did not stop at the incredible 1,111-carat diamond; they also discovered an 813-carat and 374-carat diamond the same week. Given the rarity of the 1,111-carat diamond, the price could easily overwhelm price per carat norms.
The Karowe mine generates diamonds from its three kimberlite pipes, the south, center, and north lobes. Each lobe outcrops at surface and the majority is located within 10m from the surface. The mine books an estimated 6.3-million carats of diamonds in reserves, with 1.5mm as the bottom cutoff in size.