Is Bigger Better?

Posted by

In the world of diamonds, the case for size can usually be made with large, high-quality gems - the bigger the better, or more to the point, the bigger the more valuable. But such was not the case for Lesedi la Rona. Extracted from the Karowe Mine in South Africa a couple of years ago, the Lesedi la Rona is the second largest diamond ever found in the earth. Yet, this magnificent gem, estimated around three billion years old, for all of its mass and beauty could not be sold at a time when other diamonds have been setting record highs. Here's the story.

Lesedi la Rona was discovered by a Canadian company, Lucara Diamond, just north of Gaborone in Botswana. A local native gave the diamond its name, which in Tswana means "The Light" and for good reason - this gem possessed extraordinary luminescence, clarity and transparency. It's classified as a Type IIa Ha diamond - a rare gem category which represents less than 3% of all high quality diamonds. Above all, it tipped the scales at 1,111 carats, which roughly equates to the size of a baseball. 

Only the Cullinan Diamond, mined in 1906, exceeded it in size at a whopping 3,106 carats - the largest diamond in mining history. That stone was cut into nine magnificent gems, one of which became the Great Star of Africa, while the other eight joined the Crown Jewels of Great Britain. However, cutting the Lesedi la Roma into smaller gems was not in the original plan, but selling it at a record high price was.

The chosen seller of this great gem was the legendary auctioneer, Sotheby's, in a stand-alone auction. Experts projected the Lesedi la Rona to fetch between $70 million and $100 million. After all, the Constellation, an 813 carat diamond - 6th largest in the world, sold for $63 million in May of last year. The record sale, however, wasn't meant to be. 

Brought to public auction just one month following the sale of the Constellation, the bidding began at $50 million and within 15 minutes the highest bid was reached at $61 million - not even as high as the much smaller Constellation and at a much lower price required for Sotheby's to make a profit. The attempted sale of the second largest diamond on record, in other words, was an epic fail. Why? Some believe that the stand-alone type of auction wasn't the appropriate forum; a one-on-one negotiation with an interested party may have produced a better result. Others believe that the diamond was simply too large to be sold as a rough diamond at auction, siting a size threshold of 1,000 carats as the practical maximum. To this date, the stone remains unsold.

Upper Photo: Luxurious Magazine 

Lower Photo: Sotheby's

The Exotic Black Diamond

The black diamond is a special gem due to its rarity and, of course, its untraditional diamond color. It's both exotic and unique when compared to other diamonds, and it can be absolutely stunning when worn in a strand as a tennis bracelet or necklace or even as a solitaire ring mounted in white gold. [...]

Read More »

New Choices in Men's Wedding Bands

Gone are the days when your main options for a beautiful man's wedding band were gold and silver. While those two precious metals may never lose their luster on the popularity scale for their beauty, tradition, elegance and value retention, they stand among a myriad of other metals with their own unique attraction that appeals [...]

Read More »

Our Own Luxury Brand - DIAMELIA™

After thirty five years of experience as professional diamond jewelers, we at Gold and Gems Fine Jewelry embarked on a new path three years ago that has opened new and exciting opportunities in our business that, at the time, we never dreamed of. We began to research what then had been emerging and making news in the [...]

Read More »

Selecting an Engagement Ring Setting

Engagement ring shoppers have lots to consider as they search for that special ring. The diamond or diamond alternative usually takes the forefront in the selection process with respect to the four C's - cut, color, clarity and carats, which are all important considerations. However, the setting or "mounting," as it's also called, is equally [...]

Read More »

Elegance of the Rose

Though gold has been used in jewelry for thousands of years, rose gold didn't make its debut until the 1800's in Russia. Popularity soon increased and spread throughout Europe, and by the early 1900's rose gold jewelry was found in most major European cities. In the early 1900's, the renown French jeweler, Louis Cartier, created [...]

Read More »

Aquamarine - March's Serene Birthstone

With March around the corner, we thought we'd shine the spotlight on a seductively beautiful gem, which happens to be the birthstone of March - the aquamarine. As its name suggests, "aquamarine" has an ocean-related quality, as it derives from the Latin words aqua and marina, which mean water and sea respectively. Although not found [...]

Read More »

Toby Pomeroy's Ethical Jewelry

Toby PomeroyOver the past several years, the mining industry has gotten a black eye for its unsavory reputation of resource exploitation, and perhaps rightfully so. It's no dark secret anymore that for many years diamond and precious metal mining companies have destructively misused land and water resources, left trails of waste materials behind, and maybe [...]

Read More »

Man Made Diamonds - The New Paradigm in Jewelry

What possessed movie star Leonardo DiCaprio, along with 10 Silicon Valley billionaires, to invest in Diamond Foundry - a California-based start up in the business of making diamonds in a lab? The answer is simple - the man made diamond industry is projected to experience huge growth in the coming years for several reasons. Even [...]

Read More »

​Diamond Alternatives and Emergence of a New Brand - DIAMONNA™

A couple of years ago, we at Gold and Gems Fine Jewelry observed a shift among consumers towards man made alternatives from mined diamonds. After providing our customers with high-quality, naturally mined diamonds for over 30 years, we decided to embark into this new world of these man made gems, and what a journey it has been! [...]

Read More »