When a mine unearths one 160-plus ct. diamond, that is a rare and welcome event. But Gem Diamonds recently hit the double jackpot by finding two.
At the end of January, the London-based miner discovered a 162.06 ct. Type II diamond and a 161.74 ct. Type I diamond at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho.
A press release described them both as “exceptional” and in “largely undamaged condition,” but a company spokeswoman did not want to venture a guess as to their quality.
“As the diamonds are to be tendered in Antwerp next week, it would be very misleading of me to make any comments with respect to what we regard the clarity and color to be,” says investment relations manager Sherryn Tedder. “Each buyer gets the opportunity to examine the diamonds on tender to make up their own minds as to what they believe the diamond to be worth and to make an offer accordingly.”
She did note, however that “generally an exceptional Type II diamond from Letšeng will result in top color and clarity polished stones.”
“In May 2013, we sold an ‘exceptional’ 164 ct. for $9 million (or $54,911 per carat),” she adds. “Historically, Type II’s from Letšeng have resulted in D IF polished stones.”
And she adds that the “Type I diamond will not fetch quite the same high price as the Type II. However, it is still a very exceptional diamond in terms of its size.”
As Tedder notes, these are not the first impressive, or large, stones found at Letšeng. In September, a 12 ct. piece of blue rough was discovered, and in August 2011 it produced the 550 ct. Letšeng Star.
Gem Diamonds acquired Letšeng, which was operated by De Beers from 1977 to 1982, in 2006. It is currently run as a joint venture between Gem Diamonds, which owns 70 percent of the project, and the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, which owns the remaining 30 percent.