Lucara Diamond Corp has appointed Sotheby’s to auction the world’s second-largest diamond it discovered in Botswana last year.
“We are very excited to have been chosen to work with Lucara on this extraordinary project,” Sotheby’s said in a statement to Rapaport News March 14.
“Such a sale is unprecedented so we are together exploring the best possible way to present this natural treasure to the market. We look forward to sharing further details in the future.”
Lucara intends to sell the 1,111-carat Lesedi La Rona in the first half after a roadshow that will take the stone to undisclosed locations around the world.
Switzerland-based private bank Julius Baer has also been hired in relation to the sale of the gem, the largest diamond ever uncovered in Botswana.
“We are working with Julius Baer. Sotheby’s is our selected partner for the live auction,” Lucara’s CEO William Lamb told Canadian news network CBC’s The Exchange in a video interview posted online March 8.
“We are going to target ultra-high net-worth individuals [and] the diamantaires that we sell a lot of our other very large high value stones to,” Lamb added in the interview. “At the end of the day we are going to put it up for auction so it will be a live auction hopefully before the end of the half-year.”
The appointed agents “believe there is a significant volume of people that actually may want the stone as a collector’s item,” Lamb said.
Lamb confirmed that the company had received offers of up to $40 million for the rough diamond but did not say whether this was U.S. or Canadian dollars.
“It was just an email that came through from somewhere in the U.S. We’ve had a lot of emails like that – ‘Would you sell me the stone for x amount?” the executive said.
The $40 million figure falls below the price tag “north of $60 million” Lamb said he expected the stone to fetch in an interview with Bloomberg shortly after the discovery in November.
The Toronto-listed miner will not cut the diamond up into pieces, instead planning to sell it whole, he said.
“In terms of the overall value of the stone, because of its historical significance, nobody can really say whether it’s more valuable in its polished form or in the rough form,” Lamb continued.
“I think there will be collectors out there who would look to actually own the world’s largest uncut diamond. Whoever the final buyer is may actually polish it, could put it into a collection, or if they did want to monetize it at a later stage they would analyze it and then sell it in the polished form.”
Sales of the Lesedi La Rona and two additional large stones of 813 and 374 carats found by Lucara would significantly boost the miner’s revenue. The company hopes to discover more exceptional stones with the help of new discrimination technology implemented by Lucara which contributed to its recovering the 1,111-carat gem.