A tennis ball-sized rough diamond unearthed nearly two years ago by a Vancouver-based diamond producer has been sold for US$53 million ($73 million).
The 1109-carat stone, which is the world's largest uncut diamond, was bought by British diamond dealer Graff Diamonds for $US47,777 ($65,963) per carat, and will now be cut and polished, Lucara said in a statement.
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The price paid was an "improvement" on the highest bid received for the diamond at a Sotheby's auction in June 2016, Lucara Diamond Corp Chief Executive and President William Lamb said.
Lamb had gambled that ultra-rich collectors, who buy and sell precious art works for record-breaking sums at auction, would do the same with a diamond in the raw. The unprecedented bet failed when bids did not meet the auction reserve price and the diamond was not sold.
The stone, named 'Lesedi La Rona', or 'Our Light' in the national language of Botswana where it was mined at Lucara's Karowe mine in November 2015, is said to be 2.5-3 billion years old.
The rough diamond is second in size only to the 3106.75 carat Cullinan, which was cut into 105 diamonds, including several British Crown Jewels.