Sourcing

Lesotho Mine Yields 108-Carat Pink Diamond

SourcingApr 24, 2023

Lesotho Mine Yields 108-Carat Pink Diamond

Awaiting a name, the rare gem is one of the largest pink diamonds ever recovered.

20230421_108Pink-4.jpg
Storm Mountain Diamonds recovered this 108.39-carat rough pink diamond from its Kao mine in Lesotho last month, the largest pink diamond ever unearthed at the mine.
Maseru, Lesotho— Storm Mountain Diamonds recently announced the recovery of a 108.39-carat rough pink diamond from its Kao mine in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Unearthed at the end of March and described by the company as a fancy intense pink, it is one of the largest pink diamonds ever recovered, the company said. It is substantially larger than the 47.81-carat “Pink Eternity” mined last fall, which previously held the record as the largest pink diamond unearthed at the Kao mine.

Like many other pink stones from Kao, the 108-carat diamond is a rare Type IIa stone. GIA describes Type IIa diamonds as having an “exceptionally pure chemical composition” with “negligible amounts of nitrogen or boron.”

The Lesotho Minister of Natural Resources Mohlomi Moleko said the stone is one of the most significant diamonds found to date in Lesotho.

Other notable stones recently recovered from the Kao mine include the 25.97-carat “Pink Dawn” in 2021, the 21.86-carat “Pink Palesa” in 2021, the 29.59-carat “Rose of Kao” in 2018, and the 36.06-carat “Pink Storm” in 2013.

Storm Mountain Diamonds said the new diamond has not been named, but there is a list of names submitted by the mining team in Lesotho up for selection.

20230421_108Pink-2.jpg
The Lesotho Minister of Natural Resources said this rough pink diamond is "one of the most significant diamonds found to date in Lesotho.”


Storm Mountain Diamonds has operated the Kao kimberlite diamond mine since 2010. Jointly owned by Storm Mountain Diamonds Ltd. and the Government of Lesotho, it is located in the Butha-Buthe District of Lesotho.

The kimberlite pipe is the fourth largest in southern Africa and the largest in Lesotho, which is home to a few diamond mines including Letšeng, known for its output of large diamonds.

The Kao mine sits at 2,500 meters above sea level and is one of the world’s highest gemstone operations, according to the Storm Mountain Diamonds website

Discovered by Colonel Scott and his exploration team in the 1950s, Kao showed potential as a diamondiferous mine, though the grade and value of the diamonds were initially low.

Artisanal miners and organized cooperatives mined it until 2006, when Kao Diamond Mines Ltd. acquired the mining lease from the Lesotho government. 

The company struggled with poor production, exporting only about 7,000 carats over three years, and eventually liquidated in 2009, with Storm Mountain Diamonds coming onto the scene the following year.

 Related stories will be right here … 

While the miner has yet to share when or how this newly discovered pink diamond will be sold, it’s an interesting time for the pink diamond market.

Nearly a decade ago, the 36-carat “Pink Storm” that put Kao on the map as a serious pink diamond producer sold for $15.4 million, or about $426,000 per carat.

Pink diamond sales have trended upward from there, but auction prices have fluctuated.

In 2022, the 11.15-carat internally flawless “Williamson Pink Star” set a new price-per-carat record when Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold it for $57.7 million, or $5.2 million per carat.

The following month at Christie’s Geneva, the “Fortune Pink,” an 18.18-carat fancy vivid pink, sold for considerably less, topping out at $28.8 million, or around $1.5 million per carat.

Now, many eagerly await to see the figure garnered by “The Eternal Pink,” the 10.57-carat internally flawless, fancy vivid purplish pink diamond that will headline Sotheby’s June 8 jewelry auction in New York. 

Mined in Botswana in 2019, the diamond is projected to sell for at least $35 million, or $3.3 million per carat, the highest price-per-carat estimate placed on a diamond or gemstone offered at auction, according to the auction house.

Sotheby’s described it as “arguably the most significant pink diamond to ever appear at auction.” 

The Latest

Swarovski New York City flagship
IndependentsMay 21, 2024
State of Retail: 4 Retail Design Trends for 2024

From lighter color palettes to the integration of AR, experts offer inspiration for jewelers in need of an aesthetic refresh.

Dame Shirley Bassey’s
AuctionsMay 21, 2024
Dame Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds Are Ready for Their Encore

Sotheby’s will auction jewelry belonging to the “Diamonds Are Forever” singer in Paris this October.

National Jeweler columnist Sherry Smith
ColumnistsMay 21, 2024
Successful Vendor Relationships: A Win-Win Approach

Sherry Smith shares tips for fostering successful vendor-retailer partnerships, from marketing investment to fast-seller replenishment.

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

Jennifer Herold, Independent Jewelers Organization vice president
IndependentsMay 21, 2024
Jennifer Herold Promoted to VP at IJO

Herold has been with the organization for 22 years and will continue in her current role of conference director.

Weekly QuizMay 16, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these seven questions.
Take the Quiz
Studs pop-up
MajorsMay 20, 2024
Studs Opens Luxury Piercing Pop-Up in NYC

“Fancy Studs” will feature revamped branding and a new lab-grown diamond fine jewelry collection.

Stuller Packaging & Displays 2024-2025 catalog
MajorsMay 20, 2024
Stuller Issues New Packaging & Display Catalog

The 2024-2025 edition features new colors and styles, as well as storytelling elements.

Royal Chain gold chains
Brought to you by
Record Gold Prices Have Consumers Undeterred. Here’s Why.

Despite the rising prices, consumers continue to seek out the precious metal.

Rough diamonds from De Beers
SourcingMay 20, 2024
Anglo American Confirms It Is Looking to Sell De Beers

The mining giant also wants to offload its platinum business as part of an overhaul designed to “unlock significant value.”

Buccellati jewelry
FinancialsMay 17, 2024
Richemont Appoints Van Cleef & Arpels’ Nicolas Bos as New CEO

The announcement coincided with its full-year results, with growth driven by its jewelry brands.

Watches of Switzerland Mall of America store
FinancialsMay 17, 2024
Watches of Switzerland’s Fiscal-Year Sales Flat

Looking ahead, the retailer said it sees “enormous potential” in Roberto Coin’s ability to boost its branded jewelry business.

My Next Question webinar series graphic
Recorded WebinarsMay 17, 2024
Watch: Preparing for Trade Show Success

Jewelry trade show veterans share strategies for engaging buyers, managing your time effectively, and packing the right shoes.

Cartier ring-tailed lemur brooch circa 1991
AuctionsMay 17, 2024
Piece of the Week: Cartier’s Ring-Tailed Lemur

This little guy’s name is Ricky and he just sold for more than $200,000 at Sotheby’s Geneva jewelry auction.

202.18 carat fancy intense yellow diamond The Yellow Rose
AuctionsMay 16, 2024
Christie’s Holds 2 Sales Despite Cyberattack

Though its website has been down for a week, Christie’s proceeded with its jewelry and watch auctions on May 13-14, bringing in nearly $80 million.

The Allnatt yellow diamond
AuctionsMay 16, 2024
Sotheby’s Withdraws 101-Carat Yellow Diamond from Auction

Despite the absence of “The Allnatt,” Sotheby’s Geneva jewelry auction totaled $34 million, with 90 percent of lots sold.

National Jeweler columnist Lilian Raji
ColumnistsMay 16, 2024
The PR Adviser: What the Designer Should’ve Done

Lilian Raji gives advice to designers on how to make the most of great publicity opportunities.

Mothae Diamond Mine Lesotho
SourcingMay 16, 2024
Lucapa to Shed Stake in Lesotho Diamond Mine

The mining company wants to divest its 70 percent holding in the Mothae Diamond Mine in an effort to streamline its portfolio.

National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith
ColumnistsMay 15, 2024
Squirrel Spotting: Why Retailers Struggle to Fire Brands

Why do so many jewelers keep lines that are not selling? Peter Smith thinks the answer lies in these two behavioral principles.

The Argyle Phoenix red diamond
AuctionsMay 15, 2024
Red Diamond Breaks Records at Phillips Geneva

The “Argyle Phoenix” sold for more than $4 million at the auction house’s second jewels sale.

Jewelers of America 20 Under 40 2024 recipients
Events & AwardsMay 15, 2024
See Who’s in JA’s 2024 ‘20 Under 40’ Class

The annual list recognizes young professionals making an impact in jewelry retail.

David Mann jewelry store
IndependentsMay 15, 2024
David Mann Jewelers in Upstate NY to Close After 35 Years

Owner David Mann is heading into retirement.

Brilliant Earth Logan Hollowell jewelry collection
FinancialsMay 15, 2024
Brilliant Earth’s Sales Fall Flat in Q1

While overall sales were sluggish, the retailer said its non-bridal fine jewelry was a popular choice for Valentine’s Day.

The Yellow Rose and the Allnatt yellow diamonds
AuctionsMay 14, 2024
2 Huge Yellow Diamonds Are Heading to Auction

Christie's is selling one of the diamonds, moving forward with its Geneva jewelry auction despite the cyberattack that took down its website.

Born Leaders Platinum Born campaign
MajorsMay 14, 2024
Platinum Born Taps ‘Born Leaders’ for New Campaign

The ad aims to position platinum jewelry as ideal for everyday wear.

Instappraise Trifold Brochure
GradingMay 14, 2024
Instappraise Adds Trifold Brochure to Appraisal Offerings

Retailers can customize and print the appraisal brochures from their store.

White, pink, and blue lab-grown diamonds from Lightbox
Lab-GrownMay 13, 2024
Lab-Grown Diamond Brand Lightbox Cuts Prices by 25 to 40%

The move follows a price-drop test run in Q4 and comes with the addition of a “quality assurance card” from GIA for some loose diamonds.

Christie’s New York
TechnologyMay 13, 2024
Christie’s Website Brought Down by Hackers, Watch Auction Postponed

The site has been down since Thursday evening, just ahead of its spring auctions.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy