How to cut a diamond the size of a tennis ball

In case you were thinking about it, you’re too late to put in a bid for the Lesedi La Rona – it’s sold. The second largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered, has been sold to Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds, for USD 53 million. It was sold privately after it failed to meet its reserve price at auction last year. The ‘Lesedi La Rona’, meaning ‘our light’ in Setswana, is a 1,111 carat rough diamond almost the size of a tennis ball, and was recovered in Botswana in 2015 by the Canadian company,  Lucara. The Gemological Institute of America has certified it as being of ‘exceptional quality and transparency’. A team of cutters will work out the best way to maximise the stone’s potential using 3D scanning equipment to search for inclusions. Based on what they find they will work out how to cut the diamond and into how many individual stones. The largest gem-quality diamond ever found was the 3,106 carat Cullinan Diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1905. It had a major internal flaw so it was split down the middle to eliminate it, and then cut into nine large stones and 96 smaller ones to remove further flaws and maximise brilliance, and simply to make it easier to put into jewellery that could be worn comfortably. The Cullinan was cut without the sophisticated modern instruments of today, such as 3D scanning and CAD (computer-aided-design) but it’s likely that it will still be a while before the Lesedi La Rona debuts as cut and polished diamonds. There’s no doubt that the final outcome will be highly anticipated by diamond aficionados around the world.

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