The 170-carat Lulo Rose. Photo credit: Lucapa Diamond Company.
A massive rough pink diamond, weighing about 170 carats or 134 grams, has been discovered at the Lulo alluvial diamond mine in Angola. Its owners claim that it is largest fancy pink diamond found in 300 years.
Announcing the discovery on its website, the mine’s owner, the Lucapa Diamond Company, said that the stone has been named the Lulo Rose.
“It is truly a gift,” said Lucapa’s managing director Stephen Wetherall. “We are once again made very proud by another historic recovery.”
The other discovery Wetherall was referring to the 404.2-carat colorless “4th February Stone,” which was recovered at the mine in 2016 and to date is regarded as Angola’s largest rough diamond find ever. It eventually was sold for $16 million.
The Lulo Rose is the fifth-largest diamond found at the mine. To date, 27 diamonds in excess of 100 carats have been mined at the site, according to Lucapa.
“This record and spectacular pink diamond recovered from Lulo continues to showcase Angola as an important player on the world stage for diamond mining and demonstrates the potential and rewards for commitment and investment in our growing diamond mining industry,” said Angola’s mineral resources minister, Diamantino Azevedo, as quote on the Lucapa website.
27 PLUS-100-CARAT STONES
The Lulo mine is located in a 3,000-square-kilometer concession in Angola’s Lunda Norte province, some 630 kilometers east of the country’s capital of Luanda. It employs about 400 people.
It is an alluvial mining operation, but kimberlite exploration is also taking place at the site, with more than 100 pipes already having been identified.
Commercial diamond production commenced at Lulo in 2015 through the alluvial mining company Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo.
Lulo is a prolific producer of large and premium value diamonds, including regular recoveries of large diamonds weighing more than 10.8 carats. In addition to the 4th February Stone, a 227-carat colorless diamond was also recovered at the site.
The Lulo Mine in Angola’s Lunda Norte province, one of the world’s most prolific producers of high-value of diamonds. (Photo courtesy of Lucapa Diamond Company)
The average per carat sales prices achieved for Lulo diamonds are among the highest of any alluvial mine in the world. By the end of 2020, the facility had achieved gross revenues of more than $200 million, at an average sale price of $1,780 per carat.
The latest find cements Lulo’s status as a lucrative source of fancy-colored diamonds, with past production including a number of large fancy pinks and yellows.
A PROSPECTIVE RECORD BREAKER
Although historical records are inconclusive, the Lulo Rose is most likely the largest fancy pink diamond discovered since the rough stone from which was produced the 185-carat Daria-i-Noor, which today can be found among among the Iranian national jewels.
Pale pink in color, the Daria-i-Noor is believed to have been sourced hundreds of years ago at the Kollur Mine, in the present-day State of Andhra Pradesh in India. In 1965, a group of Canadian researchers concluded that the Daria-i-Noor may well have been part of a larger pink diamond that had been set in the throne of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, which was described in the journal of the French traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier in 1642, who called it the Great Table diamond. It has been suggested that the original stone may have been cut into two pieces – the larger one becoming the Daria-i-Noor and a smaller one, the 60-carat Noor-ul-Ain diamond, being set in a tiara that also is part of the Iranian national collection.
When it is eventually sold as a polished stone or collection of stone, the Lulo Rose may well find its way into the record books. The current record holder is a 59.6-carat pink diamond, which sold in 2017 for $71.2 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. Purchased by Chow Tai Fook, it remains the most expensive polished diamond of any color to sell at auction. It was cut from a 132.5-carat piece of rough, discovered by De Beers in South Africa in 1999, which was less than half the size of the Lulo Rose.
No definite information about the sale of the Lulo Rose has been provided at this stage, but it is expected to be auctioned by the Angolan state diamond marketing company, Sodiam.