The world’s second largest gem ever discovered goes by the name “Lesedi La Rona.” It means “Our Light” in Setswana, which is the official language of Botswana, located in Southern Africa. Botswana has not only become one of the world’s leading producers of diamonds, but has also become a global diamond trader. Diamonds make up 60% of exports in Botswana.
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The 1,111-carat gem, approximately the size of a tennis ball, was discovered in November of 2015 at The Karowe Diamond Mine in Botswana. The mine, which is expected to have about 15 years of production, is owned by Lucara Diamond, a Canadian based firm. The “Lesedi La Rona” gemstone is a colorless Type-lla diamond, meaning that it is nearly or entirely free of impurities and is transparent. There are very few stones that qualify as a Type-lla diamond. The Cullinan and The Koh-I-Noor are two others in this category.
The Cullinan was discovered in Pretoria, South Africa in 1905, weighing 3,106 carats. It has since been cut into nine large pieces and many smaller pieces. Some of these pieces have been incorporated into Britain’s Crown Jewels in the Royal Scepter.
The discovery of the precious diamond, “Lesedi La Rona,” is the result of an alternative mining process that utilizes an x-ray transmission sensor device by TOMRA to discover stones before they are broken up in the mining process. The Karowe Mine is said to be one of the pioneers in operating this technology, rather than the traditional drill and blast methods.
How Did It Get Its Name?The newly discovered diamond was originally given a common name comprised of the mine and the pipe where it was discovered, Karowe AK6. In January 2016, the Chief Executive Officer of Lucara announced a contest opened to all Botswana citizens and the company’s employees. Any person who came up with the best name for the diamond would receive $2,200. After receiving more than 11,000 emails in just one month, a name was chosen. The winner of the contest, who named the diamond “Lesedi La Rona”, explained that the name symbolized pride, light, and hope from the people of his country.
The breakthrough of this colossal diamond has sky rocketed Lucara Diamond’s stocks with collectors, investors, and auction houses that want to get their hands on the world’s largest uncut diamond. The stone has yet to be valued due to its massive size as it does not fit into conventional scanners. Many experts argue it could be sold for between $40-$60 million dollars. It has been confirmed that the company received a $40 million offer through e-mail, but declined. When Lucara Diamond does decide to put the stone up for sale, it will be in its unique and rough form, and it would be up to the final buyer to cut and polish the stone for greater value.
Diamonds are rare natural stones that can serve as an alternative investment as they continue to grow exponentially in value. Diamonds have been held in high esteem historically throughout mankind for their beauty and value. Although these type-lla are in a special category that is inaccessible to almost everyone, the more affordable diamonds are still a precious gemstone that offer beauty and investment.
For more reading on colored diamonds, check out the links below:
- 3 Key Insights Driving Fancy Colored Diamonds Investments
- Pink Diamonds Show Largest Growth of Colored Diamonds
- Investing in Natural Pink Diamonds: What You Need to Know
- Do You Have This Alternative Investment Asset In Your Portfolio?