Historic Diamond unveiled in Dubai


First public unveiling of 478 carat diamond jointly hosted by DMCC and Letšeng Diamonds

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) and Letšeng Diamonds today hosted the historic unveiling of the 478 carat white diamond recovered at Letšeng Mine in Lesotho in September 2008.  The ceremony, that marked the first time the stone had been publicly viewed, was hosted by Ahmed bin Sulayam, Executive Chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (“DMCC”) and Clifford Elphick, Chairman of Letšeng Diamonds, the owner of the world renowned Letšeng Mine in Lesotho, where the diamond was recovered.  The public unveiling took place at the Atlantis Hotel alongside the Middle East China Diamond and Jewellery Summit, being hosted by DMCC on November 8th and 9th, 2008.

Expert diamantaires have now had the opportunity to view the diamond, using the sophisticated diamond analysis and mapping technology owned by the recently established Gem Diamonds Technology DMCC.  Initial analysis indicates that the stone could yield a D colour flawless round brilliant diamond of up to 150 carats, making it the largest diamond of its kind in history.

Analysis further revealed that the stone could alternatively yield a D flawless diamond of up to 300 carats, the largest D flawless polished diamond since the production of the British Crown Jewels.

The Government of Lesotho, owners in partnership with Gem Diamonds in the Letšeng Mine, have named the diamond the Leseli La Letšeng  which translated means Light of Letšeng.  The name reflects the diamonds remarkable colour and clarity, the highest possible quality for a white diamond.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC, said: “Dubai has the unique honour of playing host, to what may become the largest ever polished round diamond and the largest rough diamond ever to come to Dubai. Indeed, Dubai will add yet another success story to its growing list, because today the Emirate has become the official naming ground for this 478-carat stone.”

Clifford Elphick, Chairman of Letšeng Diamonds, who hosted the unveiling, commented: “The name of this diamond is most befitting for a recovery of this significance and beauty.  It is very seldom that such an extraordinary diamond presents itself and now with the technology that we have to hand, the truly historic potential of the diamond can be determined before it is crafted into its polished form and I am extremely excited to see this potential reached.”

About Letšeng Diamonds

Letšeng Diamonds (Pty) Ltd was incorporated in Lesotho in 1995 with the intention of seeking a mining lease from the Government of Lesotho to re-open the Letšeng Diamond Mine on the high plateau of the Maluti Mountains.  The Letšeng Mine is situated at 3400m altitude making it the highest diamond mine in the world.

The mine was previously operated by De Beers from 1977 to 1982 and was closed with less than 10% of the open pit mineable ore having been treated.  Mining operations recommenced in April 2004 and in 2006 Gem Diamonds acquired 70% of Letšeng Diamonds.  The remaining 30% of Letšeng Diamonds is owned by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho in partnership with Gem Diamonds.

Letšeng is renowned for its production of large high quality white diamonds including many historic diamonds.  Ninety percent of the diamonds recovered are gem quality and a significant number graded as D colour, the average diamond size is in excess of one carat.

The 478 carat diamond ranks as the 20th largest rough diamond ever to be recovered.  It is the third significant recovery from the Letšeng Mine in as many years, following the 603 carat Lesotho Promise and the 493 carat Letšeng Legacy recovered in 2006 and 2007 respectively.  Including the 601 carat Lesotho Brown, recovered in 1960, the Letšeng Mine has now produced four of the world’s 20 largest rough diamonds and the three largest diamonds recovered this century.

About DMCC

DMCC was created in 2002 as a strategic initiative of the Dubai Government to establish a commodity marketplace in Dubai. Rated ‘A’ by Standard & Poor’s, it provides the market infrastructure that brings together a wide range of commodities activities, and is committed to serve the needs of participants in the gold, diamonds and commodities markets. Resident companies of DMCC are offered highly attractive benefits under a free zone status, including a 50-year guaranteed tax holiday, 100 per cent business ownership, full ownership of business premises, and a secure regulated environment.

For further information:
Letšeng Diamonds
Mazvi Maharasoa
Tel: +266 22316612

Gem Diamonds Limited
Angela Parr
Tel: +27 83 578 3885

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre
Sudha Chandran
Tel: +971 4 367 8382


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