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Graff Buys Iconic 1,109ct. Diamond for $53M

Lucara Diamond Corp. has sold the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona to Graff Diamonds for $53 million — a price well below what the miner initially wanted for the record-breaking stone. Graff spent $47,777 per carat on the rough diamond, the second-largest in the history of the trade and the biggest that any company has unearthed in Botswana, Lucara said Monday. Lucara recovered the diamond at its Karowe mine in November 2015. It then failed to sell the stone at a Sotheby’s auction in London in June 2016, where its estimated price was $70 million or higher. The company later said it would aim to sell the rock in the first half of this year. “We took our time to find a buyer who would take the diamond through its next stage of evolution,” Lucara CEO William Lamb said. “The price paid is also an improvement on the highest bid received at the Sotheby’s auction in June 2016.” A total of three diamonds Lucara recovered at Karowe in November 2015 have sold for a combined value of more than $130 million, the rough producer added. “This is more than it cost to build the mine, and again demonstrates how incredible the Karowe mine is,” a company spokeperson said in an email to Rapaport News. Graff is a prolific buyer of large stones. In May, it acquired a 373.72-carat rough that was once part of the Lesedi La Rona before the shard fell off pre-production. “The stone will tell us its story — it will dictate how it wants to be cut, and we will take the utmost care to respect its exceptional properties,” said Laurence Graff, the company’s founder and chairman. “This is a momentous day in my career, and I am privileged to be given the opportunity to honor the magnificent natural beauty of the Lesedi La Rona.”

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