Great, you found a whopping diamond, now try to sell it
Lucara’s new find, a 1,758 carat, tennis-ball sized gem, offers bragging rights but how much cash in the bank?
Super-large diamonds grab headlines but they’re not that easy to sell for the companies that find them.
Lucara Diamonds has at least had the experience of finding and temporarily owning the world’s second-largest diamond, the Lesedi La Rona, a 1,109 carat stone it found at its Karowe mine in Botswana in 2015.
The selling of the white diamond – the image most people have when they think of a diamond – was not without its difficulties. After showing off the diamond to ramp up the hype around the stone, an auction at Sotheby’s in 2016 failed to realise the $70m Lucara wanted.
Lucara sold the diamond to Britain’s Graff Diamonds in 2017 for $53m. It was cut into a spectacular 302 carat diamond along with 66 smaller polished diamonds.
The picture of Lucara’s latest find, a 1,758 carat, tennis-ball sized diamond shows it to be less obviously as eye-catching as Lesedi La Rona was in the rough. Lucara describes it as a “a complex diamond of variable colour and quality, including visible domains of white diamond.”
Even with a light shining behind it, the diamond doesn’t show well and is not a thing of obvious beauty.
It’s nice for Lucara to have the boasting rights and the associated free publicity that comes with finding the world’s now second-largest diamonds after SA’s famous 3,107 carat Cullinan diamond found north of Pretoria in 1905.
But how valuable the diamond will be for Lucara measured by cash in the bank will take time to establish. Investors would do well not to hope for too much.
For Lucara, however, the find represents more than just the obvious benefits. It has proved that the new technology deployed at the mine to find large diamonds in its kimberlitic ore before they are damaged during processing works. It is also an indication that they have something special, a diamond mine that delivers notable diamonds.