Well that was a disappointment. After the second-largest diamond ever was discovered in November in Botswana, everyone in the diamond trade couldn’t stop salivating over how much it would sell for. When a smaller diamond that was discovered at the same time sold privately back in May for $63 million, making it the most expensive rough diamond ever sold, expectations were even higher.
But today, the 1,109-carat rough diamond, named the Lesedi La Rona, failed to sell at auction at all, with the highest bid being only $61 million. Sotheby’s minimum sale price was $70 million.
Its failure to sell could be because it is very untraditional to sell rough diamonds at auction. Typically, they are cut into numerous diamonds and polished by industry professionals and then brought to auction.
However, according to the New York Times, the mining company that discovered the diamond, Lucara, felt that with the record prices diamonds have been fetching lately, a very wealthy collector might be interested in buying the rough stone.
“If Lucara believed that the optimum way to maximize value was through consumer distribution, then the diamond would have been cut,” a diamond pricing expert told the Times before today’s sale. “People with tremendous amounts of money are looking for a home for it. That is fueling the prices we are seeing for diamonds.”