The hyped up diamond, estimated to be over 2.5 billion years old and described as “the find of a lifetime”, failed to find a buyer at Sotheby’s London auction on 29th June. As one of the most exciting diamonds to appear for over 100 years, it was a unique and rare opportunity to own a gem of this size and quality. So why did the 1,109 carat, tennis-ball sized diamond fail to meet the reserve price?

The Lesedi La Rona is the second-largest diamond of gem quality ever found. Meaning ‘our light’ in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana, the diamond was discovered 60 metres underground in the Karowe mine in November 2015. Having survived an incredible journey travelling up from deep within the Earth’s crust and through volcanic eruption, it's exciting to see such exceptional transparency and quality as a result. It is graded as a type IIa diamond; a highly coveted and rare group with less than 2% of all diamonds. Some diamond cutters have analysed the crystal and believe that there is potential for a 400 carat flawless diamond, which could be the largest top-quality diamond in existence.

But why didn’t it sell? There was a tremendous amount of excitement around the auction and the diamond had been on a global road show to try and tempt potential big buyers. No rough diamond of this size had ever been auctioned before and so it was considered a very rare event. After bids stalled at $61m, below the undisclosed reserve price, many were left thinking whether trying to sell the diamond was a mistake. Many experts believe the stone didn’t sell because of the current depressed global stone market, which has seen very little movement since the beginning of the year. 

Even though it failed to sell at auction, we’re sure the stone will go on to be sold privately through the usual channels - after all, it is the largest rough diamond in current existence.

1109-carat Lesedi La Rona diamond preview, London, UK - 14 Jun 2016

Photo by Nils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock