The 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, the second largest rough diamond ever discovered after the 3,016.75-carat Cullinan, has been cut by Graff into 67 polished stones, the largest of which is a 302.75-carat stone that the company has named the Graff Lesedi La Rona. Graff said the stone has been certified by the GIA to be of D colour and have ‘high clarity’ though the company did not reveal the clarity grade.
The stone was recovered at Lucara Diamond Corporation’s Karowe mine in Botswana in November 2015. Estimated at in excess of $70 million by Sotheby’s, the stone failed to sell at a standalone auction in June 2016, as the highest bid was only $61 million. Graff bought the Lesedi La Rona for $53 million in September 2017.
According to Graff, initial analysis indicated that a 300-carat prime polished stone of top colour and clarity could not be cut from the rough. However, group Chairman Laurence Graff said he and his team persisted with trying out variations. The result, coming 18 months after the stone’s acquisition and involving hundreds of hours of polishing, exceeded the 300-carat threshold that had been set.
The 66 other ‘satellite’ stones that have been cut from the original rough range from under one carat to over 100 carats. All have been certified by the GIA.