World's second-largest diamond named before road show to find buyer

Tue Feb 9, 2016 10:34am EST
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CAPE TOWN Feb 9 (Reuters) - The largest diamond uncovered in over a century was officially named on Tuesday ahead of a secretive road show to find a buyer for the rare stone.

Named "Lesedi La Rona" - which means "Our Light" in the Setswana language - the 1,100 carat diamond is about the size of a tennis ball and will soon embark on the road show.

The gem was pulled from the ground in November by Lucara Diamond Corp at its Karowe mine in Botswana.

"The road show is to showcase the stone to any potential buyer," Lucara's chief executive William Lamb told Reuters after the naming ceremony on the sidelines of an African mining conference in Cape Town.

Lamb said this could include "ultra-high-net-worth individuals" who might be interested in the stone for its value as a collector's item.

But don't expect an invite.

"The biggest challenge on the road show is that the weight to value ratio of the stone makes it potentially the highest-value item on the planet," Lamb said.

"So because of the security around the stone, there will be no telling people where we are going to be taking it, we are not going to be putting any of that information out because we want to protect our asset."

The diamond was named after the winning entry was picked from a competition that was open to citizens of Botswana, an arid and sparsely-populated Southern African nation that relies heavily on diamond mining.

Exports of diamonds mined in Botswana fell 38 percent to $2.4 billion last year from $3.9 billion in 2014, the lowest shipment of gems in six years. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia)