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更新时间:2016-6-28 18:16:04 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

World’s Largest Uncut Diamond Heads to Auction, a Break With Tradition

The world’s largest uncut diamond is about to be sold in a most uncommon way.


The tennis ball-size gem — a 1,109-carat white diamond discovered last fall in the Lucara mine in South Africa — will be up for bid Wednesday evening in a public auction at Sotheby’s in London.


Normally such stones are offered to a handful of sophisticated dealers in the diamond industry, who study the diamond for weeks to determine how many cut stones the rough will yield. After figuring how much those stones will be worth, they submit a sealed bid to the mining company.


The 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, a white diamond discovered in South Africa, at an auction preview. Usually such gems are sold by sealed bid. It is expected to fetch over $70 million.
在南非发现的1109克拉白钻Lesedi La Rona正在一场拍卖会预展上展出。通常这样的宝石会以密封竞价的形式出售。这颗钻石有望拍出7000万美元的价格。

The Sotheby’s auction represents a break with tradition that aims to take advantage of wealthy individuals’ desire for trophy objects, whether homes, art or jewels. Often they buy in ways that allow them to make the purchases anonymously.


The auction comes at a time when large cut diamonds have fetched record prices on the block: In May, the Oppenheimer Blue, a 14.62-carat stone that was said to have been the favorite of diamond millionaire Philip Oppenheimer — whose family once owned the diamond mining company De Beers — fetched a record $57.5 million at auction. That sale came a day after a 15.38-carat pink cut diamond fetched a record price of $31.6 million.

经过加工的大型钻石目前正在卖出创纪录的价格:5月,重14.62克拉的奥本海默之蓝(Oppenheimer Blue)在拍卖会上创出5750万美元的成交价纪录,此钻据说是钻石富翁菲利普·奥本海默(Philip Oppenheimer)的最爱,他所在的家族曾经拥有钻石开采公司戴比尔斯(De Beers)。而此前一天,一颗15.38克拉的粉钻刚刚创下3160万美元的纪录。

“So why not stick with that strategy?” said William Lamb, chief executive of the Lucara Diamond Corp., explaining the decision to sell a rough stone under an auctioneer’s hammer.

“那么,为什么不坚持那个策略呢?”卢卡拉钻石集团首席执行官威廉·兰卜(William Lamb)在解释将原石公开拍卖的原因时说。

Underscoring the appeal of large stones, Lucara sold a rough diamond weighing 813 carats privately in May for $63 million, or a record of about $77,500 a carat.


But the diamond boom is a high-end phenomenon. Per-carat prices for smaller stones have been declining — yet another indication of how the differential in wealth between the 1 percent and everyone else is affecting buying patterns in the world’s economy.


Prices for 1-carat polished stones have declined 4 percent in the last year because of a strengthening dollar and economic challenges faced by some of the pivotal consuming economies, noted Anish Aggarwal, a partner at Gemdax, a strategic consulting firm in the diamond industry.

钻石产业策略咨询公司Gemdax合伙人安尼施·阿加瓦尔(Anish Aggarwal)说,由于美元的坚挺,加之一些重要消费经济体面临经济困难,经过打磨的一克拉钻石的价格在去年下降了4%。

This is not the first time Sotheby’s has put a rough stone up for sale. In 2000, it put a purple-pink rough 12.49-carat diamond up for auction, but it failed to sell, according to Sotheby’s.


Whoever buys the Lucara stone will pay Sotheby’s a 12 percent fee, known as the buyer’s premium, on the hammer price for anything over the first $3 million, and a higher percentage of the first $3 million. Although there is a reserve price below which Lucara would not sell, that figure is not public. And of course, the hammer price does not include whatever the buyer would have to pay to have the stone cut, should he or she decide to do so.


Top auction houses are eager to have high-quality objects for sale because doing so burnishes their images and appeals to a wealthy global audience. That may mean Lucara has negotiated privately to receive some of the buyer’s premium.


The Lucara diamond — named the Lesedi La Rona, or “our light” in Setswana, in a contest in which 11,000 people submitted entries — is not the biggest diamond ever found. That distinction goes to the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, discovered at a mine in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905. It was named for Thomas Cullinan, the chairman of the mining company.

这颗卢卡拉钻石名为“Lesedi La Rona”,在茨瓦纳语是“我们的光芒”的意思。这个名字来自有1.1万人参与的征名活动。但它并非迄今找到的最大的钻石。1905年在南非比勒陀利亚的一座矿中找到的卡利南钻石重达3106克拉,至今占据第一的位置。钻石的名字来自矿业公司董事长托马斯·卡利南(Thomas Cullinan)。

It was ultimately cut into nine discrete stones, of which the largest was the 530-carat Cullinan I, or Great Star of Africa. Four years after the discovery, the Cullinan I and Cullinan II were presented to King Edward VII in a ceremony at Windsor Castle. Later, the Cullinan I was placed in the monarch’s scepter. The remaining stones are scattered throughout the royal collection.


Martin Rapaport, whose Rapaport Group is an important source of information on diamond pricing, said the decision to auction an uncut stone would prove to be a savvy one.

马丁·雷帕波特(Martin Rapaport)说,公开拍卖原石应该是一个明智的决定。他的雷柏帕特集团(Rapaport Group)在钻石定价领域是一个重要信息源。

“If Lucara believed that the optimum way to maximize value was through consumer distribution, then the diamond would have been cut,” he said. “People with tremendous amounts of money are looking for a home for it. That is fueling the prices we are seeing for diamonds.”