What It’s Like to Find a 1,109 Carat Diamond



A Lucara trainee discovered the Lesedi la Rona, which will be auctioned next week in London

In anticipation of the the Sotheby’s auction of the Lesedi la Rona, a 1,109 ct. gem-quality rough diamond, in London on June 29, the Telegraph tracked down the trainee who discovered the stone at Lucara Diamond Corp.’s Karowe mine in Botswana in November 2015.

Tiroyaone Mathaba had been working as a sorter for fewer than five months when he found the stone, the largest diamond discovered since the Cullinan Diamond was unearthed in South Africa in 1905.

“At first I wanted to scream,” he told the Telegraph. “Then I said in a low hoarse voice ‘God, it’s a diamond! It’s a diamond, it’s a big diamond!’”

His trainer estimated the stone was 400 cts., but the geology department confirmed it was more than 1,000 cts. (The Lucara website lists the stone as 1,111 cts., though Sotheby’s has confirmed it as—and will sell it as—1,109 cts.)

Mathaba, who studied geology at the University of Botswan, has since been promoted to a permanent member of staff. He did not receive an individual bonus, but the paper reports that the entire mine staff did receive a bonus related to the find.

(Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s)