Graff founder Laurence Graff is often referred to as the King of Diamonds with a penchant for the big stones. The Lesedi La Rona weighs 1109 carats and is widely believed to be the second largest rough diamond ever discovered, after the famous Cullinan gem.
Following successful negotiation with the chairman of Canadian mining company Lucara Diamond Corp, Laurence Graff, chairman of Graff Diamonds, has acquired the world's most valuable rough diamond - the Lesedi La Rona - weighing a record-breaking 1,109 carats.
The deal, valued at $53 million, was closed with a handshake after more than a year of negotiations.
Discovered at the Lucara Karowe mine in north-central Botswana, the hypnotic Lesedi La Rona is the largest gem quality rough diamond discovered in over 100 years. This magnificent stone has been identified by the Gemological Institute of America as possessing exceptional quality and transparency, earning the full significance of its name, which means 'our light' in Tswana.
"We are thrilled and honoured to become the new custodians of this incredible diamond,” says Laurence Graff.
“Our highly skilled team of master craftsmen will draw on many years of experience of crafting the most important diamonds, working night and day to ensure that we do justice to this remarkable gift from mother nature. The stone will tell us its story, it will dictate how it wants to be cut, and we will take the utmost care to respect its exceptional properties. This is a momentous day in my career, and I am privileged to be given the opportunity to honour the magnificent natural beauty of the Lesedi La Rona.”
The acquisition follows Graff's purchase earlier this year of a 373 carat rough diamond that was originally part of the Lesedi La Rona but broke off.
Graff jewellers is involved in every stage of the jewellery making process, from the sourcing of each rough stone, through to the cutting, polishing and final setting.
Founded in 1960 by Laurence Graff, the company remains a family business, with Francois Graff (son of Laurence) as the CEO and two other family members directing design, merchandising and production. There are almost 60 Graff stores worldwide.