14 May, 2016
One of the world's largest brokers of fine arts and jewelry is preparing to sell the largest gem-quality diamond found in more than a century.
Sotheby's auction house showed off the diamond last weekend at the company's New York City headquarters. The term gem-quality means it can be made into jewelry.
The diamond is believed to be about three-billion years old. It was discovered at a mine in Botswana last November. The mine is owned by a Canadian company.
The diamond is about the size of a tennis ball. It measures 65 millimeters by 56 millimeters by 40 millimeters. Experts say the diamond has 1,109 carats.
Sotheby's will be accepting offers for the diamond at an auction in London at the end of June. Experts believe someone will pay at least $70 million for it.
David Bennett is the head of Sotheby's jewelry division.
"And it's a simply dramatically beautiful stone. I mean it's unbelievable. Just look at it. It's an extraordinary thing. The sheer size is difficult to comprehend."
The diamond has been named "Lesedi la Rona." That means "our light" in the national language of Botswana.
To the untrained eye, the lovely big jewel looks like something you might show off. The diamond is of the very highest quality, and light can shine through it. Experts praise rough diamonds such as this one for their natural beauty. Yet it could become the largest top-quality diamond ever to be cut and polished.
"This stone is just amazing. You can imagine the extraordinary stones that can be cut of out it."
The Lesedi la Rona is not the biggest gem-quality diamond ever found. The Cullinan diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1905, was 3,106 carats -- almost three times larger. It was cut into nine pieces. The largest piece is part of Britain's crown jewels.
I'm Christopher Jones-Cruise.
VOA Correspondent Deborah Block reported this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted her report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
broker – n. a person or company that helps other people to reach agreements, to make deals or to buy and sell property
gem-quality – adj. able to be used for jewelry
carat – n. a unit for measuring the weight of jewels (such as diamonds) that is equal to 200 milligrams
sheer – n. when used before a noun: used to emphasize the large amount, size or degree of something
comprehend – n. somewhat formal to understand (something, such as a difficult or complex subject)
rough – adj. having a surface that is not even; in an unfinished or rough state
polished – adj. made smooth and shiny by polishing
crown jewels – n. the crown, scepter and other jeweled objects that a king or queen uses on formal occasions