Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wittelsbach diamond sold for £16.4 million

What credit crunch? At Christie’s in Central London, the Wittelsbach diamond became the most expensive stone or piece of jewelry ever sold at an auction. Back in 1664, this sky-blue gem was given as the wedding dowry of a Spanish princess “Infanta Magarita Teresa” painted by Velazquez. This jewel is originally from India and hasn’t been on the market for 80 years. London Bond Street-based jeweler Laurence Graff paid a whopping £16.4 million (US $24.47 million) for the extraordinary Wittelsbach diamond. Mr. Graff said that diamond might have sold for £50 million if there had been no credit crunch.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

478-carat diamond sold for $18.4 mln....

Antwerp, Belgium--The 478-carat diamond recovered from an African mine in September has sold for $18.4 million and is expected to yield a polished stone of at least 200 carats.

Safdico, the manufacturing arm of high-end jeweler Graff Diamonds, outbid six other diamantaires to snatch up the stone, named "Leseli la Letseng" (the light of Letseng), at a tender in Antwerp, Belgium, recently, according to a release from Gem Diamonds Ltd.

The stone, recovered from the Letseng le Terai Mine in the African kingdom of Lesotho, is the 20th-largest rough diamond ever recovered and is believed to have outstanding color and clarity.

In the release, Graff Diamonds Chairman Laurence Graff said that to the best of his knowledge, the Light of Letseng is the most valuable rough diamond ever sold.

"We are delighted to be the successful bidder for such a historic stone, following our acquisition of the 603-carat Lesotho Promise and 493-carat Letseng Legacy, both from the Letseng mine. With our significant expertise in large diamonds, we expect to produce an exceptionally beautiful polished diamond of at least 200 carats," he said. "This investment is indicative of our commitment to the diamond industry and faith in the long-term value of diamonds."

Indeed the Letseng mine, which is operated as a joint venture between the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho and Gem Diamonds, is noted for the historic stones it produces.

The Light of Letseng is the third significant piece of rough to come out of the mine in as many years, following the Letseng Legacy in 2007 and the Lesotho Promise in 2006.

Including the 601-carat Lesotho Brown recovered in 1967, the mine can lay claim to producing four of the world's top 20 largest rough diamonds and the three largest stones recovered this century.

Gem Diamonds CEO Clifford Elphick called the Light of Letseng one of the most significant diamonds recovered in recent memory, and said its sale is a testament to the enduring value of the diamonds the mine produces.

"It remains exceptionally pleasing that despite these difficult financial times, this diamond has been recognized for its outstanding quality and, in turn, has achieved significant value," he said.