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Valuing the World’s Largest Diamond Is Trickier Than You Realize

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Final auction price will be determined by what the buyer wants to do with it.

As Sotheby’s preps the world’s largest diamond – the 1,111-carat Lesedi La Rona discovered by Lucara Mining Corp. in Botswana – for auction, The New Yorker explores the challenges that make it difficult to determine its value.

One issue, the article says, is that rough diamonds like Lesedi La Rona aren’t usually put up for auction like polished gems are. David Bennett, the chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division, spoke with the publication and recalled the time when he put a piece of rough pink diamond up for sale 15 years ago, but it didn’t sell. “The prevailing assumption is that no one outside the industry would know what to do with a huge rough diamond – or how to properly value it.”

The article adds that an 813-carat stone of similar quality was recently sold for $63 million, which is being used as a benchmark for this auction. Sotheby’s estimates that Lesedi La Rona is worth at least $70 million, “but this could prove low, given the appeal (and challenge) of owning the world’s largest diamond, combined with the decision to sell it at auction, which has expanded the pool of potential buyers to include fine-art collectors as well as diamantaires. … The final price the diamond draws at auction will be determined, in part, by what the buyer wants to do with it.” The auction is scheduled for June 29 in London.

Read more at the New Yorker

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