“Lesedi La Rona,” which means “Our Light” in Setswana (the national language of Botswana), is the new name of the 1,111-carat gem-quality diamond discovered at Lucara’s Karowe Mine in November of 2015. Thembani Moitlhobogi is 25,000 Pula richer after five judges picked “Lesedi La Rona” from more than 11,000 entries. The prize is equivalent to about $2,215.
“‘Lesedi La Rona’ symbolizes the pride and history of the people of Botswana,” Lucara CEO William Lamb said in a statement. “The outpouring of pride and patriotism shown by all the participants in the contest was incredible.”
The gem will soon embark on a road show to find a buyer.
“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 told Reuters.
“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.”
Lucara had honored the people of Botswana with the task of officially naming the mammoth diamond, offering a cash prize to the Botswana citizen who could come up with the best moniker for the epic stone. Entrants were invited to submit their suggested name and their rationale for their choice. The 11-day competition ended on January 28.
Five executives from both the Lucara and the Karowe mines made up the judging panel. Entries were submitted on an anonymous basis, and to ensure transparency and independence during the name selection process, the audit firm of Ernst & Young was retained to oversee the competition.
The spectacular, chemically pure Type IIa diamond — the biggest diamond ever recovered in Botswana and the second largest ever found in the world — could be worth more than $66 million. Lucara has yet to set a price for the stone because the conventional scanners used to evaluate a rough diamond’s potential worth are not large enough to accommodate its size.
Slightly smaller than a tennis ball and weighing nearly a half-pound, “Lesedi La Rona” has been called the “diamond of the century.” Only the 3,106-carat Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905, was larger.
Images courtesy of Lucara Diamond.