A 1,098ct diamond has been discovered in a mine in Botswana and is described to be the third largest of its kind in the world. The gemstone was unearthed as a joint venture between Debswana Diamond Company and Anglo American’s De Beer.
The diamond was presented to President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday by Debswana Diamond Company’s acting managing director Lynette Armstrong. It trails just behind the 3,106ct Cullinan stone recovered in South Africa in 1905 and the 1,109ct Lesedi La Rona unearthed by Lucara Diamonds in Botswana in 2015.
“This is the largest diamond to be recovered by Debswana in its history of over 50 years in operation,” Armstrong said. “From our preliminary analysis it could be the world’s third largest gem quality stone. We are yet to make a decision on whether to sell it through the De Beers channel or through the state owned Okavango Diamond Company.”
Measuring 73 by 52 by 27mm, the unnamed gemstone could not have come at a better time as the country battles with the effects of slumped diamond sales due to Covid-19. Production at Debswana, which has ties with the Botswanan government, fell by 29% in 2020 where only 16.6 million carats was mined and sales also dropped by 30% to US$2.1 billion.
The figures mentioned above are not surprising as across the board many agreed that 2020 was a tough year due to a change in the priorities of consumers. While it is generally a bad year, it could also be treated as a reset for many companies, which they can use to rethink their business models and adapt to the changing habits that people have now cultivated.
In the latest State of Fashion Special Edition: Watches & Jewellery report by the Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company, it states that more people are now more comfortable with buying fine jewellery online through dedicated platforms by luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Bvlgari. Global online fine jewellery sales are expected to grow to 18-21% of total sales in 2025, up from 13% in 2019. To succeed online, luxury brands will need to find the right blend of technology and the human touch while anchoring online “magic” into use cases and making store networks part of the digital solution.
In addition, issues relating to sustainability also need to be addressed as the report mentions that, “By 2025, an estimated 20 to 30 percent of global fine jewellery sales will be influenced by sustainability considerations from environmental impact to ethical sourcing practices.” Luxury jewellers have to be more vocal about this in order to capture the growing size of millennial and Gen Z spenders.
As the global diamond market slowly recovers with the easing of travel restrictions, the excavation of the third largest diamonds is a sign of better times ahead and we’ll happily take it.