British jeweller Graff said on Tuesday that it has purchased the worldâ€™s largest uncut diamond â€” roughly the size of a tennis ball â€” for $53 million or US$47,777 per carat.
Canadian miner Lucara Diamond sold to Graff the 1,109-carat gem, the Lesedi La Rona, which was found in Botswanaâ€™s Karowe mine in November 2015.
â€œWe are thrilled and honoured to become the new custodians of this incredible diamond,â€ said company chairman, Laurence Graff, in a statement.
â€œThe 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.â€
â€œThis is a momentous day in my career, and I am privileged to be given the opportunity to honour the magnificent natural beauty of the Lesedi La Rona,â€ he added.
Lucara confirmed the hefty price tag in a statement issued in Vancouver.
â€œThe discovery of the Lesedi La Rona was a company defining event for Lucara,â€ said William Lamb, president and chief executive of Lucara.
â€œIt solidified the amazing potential and rareness of the diamonds recovered at the Karowe mine. We took our time to find a buyer who would take the diamond through its next stage of evolution.
â€œThe price paid is also an improvement on the highest bid received at the Sothebyâ€™s auction in June 2016. Graff Diamonds is now the owner of the Lesedi La Rona as well as the 373-carat diamond purchased earlier this year, which formed part of the original stone. We are excited to follow these diamonds through the next stage of their journey,â€ the statement read.
Lesedi La Rona means â€œour lightâ€ in Botswanaâ€™s Tswana language. It could be cut into smaller gems for jewellery or left whole in a private collection.