I was intrigued by the expression “diamond in the rough” recently when I came across a notice in May that Sotheby’s in New York had a “monster” one on display for several days.
The report went on to say that the Lesedi la Rona Diamond, as it’s called, is 1,109 carats and is said to be the largest diamond discovery in more than a century.
The rough 1,109 carats diamond: Lesedi la Rona
Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s
I couldn’t resist seeing this historic exhibit so I made my way up to the auction house at York Avenue and 72nd Street. Sotheby’s always has two or three employees at the entrance who are very welcoming. I was directed to an upper floor by a handsome young man who joked, “I asked them if I could pick it up, but they wouldn’t let me.”
I was shown to a small alcove on an upper floor where I could see this three-billion-year-old rock star that was unearthed in November 2015 in Botswana.
My first impression was, “My God, the size is breathtaking, but it’s really beautiful, even in its rough state.” The diamond was displayed on a dark velvet platform that slowly rotated so one could see it from every angle.
A representative from the company that unearthed this treasure said to me, “The people of Botswana are pretty laid back BUT they really got excited about this discovery.”
It will be auctioned off shortly in London for $70 million or more. David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division, calls this diamond “the find of a lifetime” and notes that “no rough diamond this size has ever been auctioned before.”
The Uniqueness of “A Diamond Is Forever”
A copywriter, Frances Gerety, created this iconic tagline for De Beers at the ad agency N.W. Ayer in Philadelphia in 1947. In the late nineties the publication Advertising Age called it “the slogan of the century”. The brilliance of the line lies in its emphasis on both eternity and sentiment.
UPDATE: In 2014, one of Boston’s most prestigious jewelers sent out an email for Valentine’s Day with this subject line:
“Chocolates Melt. Flowers Wilt. Diamonds Are Forever.
Photo: Courtesy of Tiffany & Co.
That says it all right there. And, while we’re on this subject, let’s take a brief look at what to look for when purchasing a diamond. Briefly, here are the four Cs:
CUT – shape and cut are often used together. Shape is a diamond’s form, e.g., round or oval while cut refers to a diamond’s light return or sparkle
COLOR – consider setting diamonds I or J in yellow gold and using white gold or platinum with color grades of D through H
CLARITY – emerald-shaped diamonds are designed with long facets that emphasize transparency over sparkle; for this type, purchase a diamond with a clarity.
CARAT – Diamond prices jump at the full-carat or half-carat mark; so look for diamonds just below these sizes, e.g., 97-carat vs. one-caratShaun Nelson-Henrick
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