Sotheby’s in London is about to auction the World’s largest uncut diamond.
The tennis ball-size gem — a 1,109-carat white diamond discovered last fall in the Lucara mine in Botswana — will be up for bid Wednesday evening in a public auction, which is a breakaway from tradition.
Normally such stones are offered to a handful of sophisticated dealers in the diamond industry, who study the diamond for weeks to determine how many cut stones the rough one will yield. After figuring how much those stones will be worth, they submit a sealed bid to the mining company.
This is not the first time Sotheby’s has put a rough stone up for sale. In 2000, it put a purple-pink rough 12.49-carat diamond up for auction, but it failed to sell, according to Sotheby’s.
Whoever buys the Lucara stone will pay Sotheby’s a 12 percent fee, known as the buyer’s premium, on the hammer price for anything over the first $3 million, and a higher percentage of the first $3 million. Although there is a reserve price below which Lucara would not sell, that figure is not public. And of course, the hammer price does not include whatever the buyer would have to pay to have the stone cut, should he or she decide to do so.
Hmmmm . . Not quite the same size as the one I found in my backyard once . . . oh wait! – that WAS a tennis ball! D’OH!
Article first published in the NY Times