Botswana's Blue Diamond Set to Challenge Its Most Famous Rival
(Bloomberg) -- Botswana’s state-owned diamond marketer has unveiled a gem that exceeds the clarity and purity of one of the world’s most famous, the Hope Diamond.
At just over 20 carats, the oval-shaped blue diamond, known as Okavango Blue, is smaller than Hope Diamond, but graded above it in terms of purity by the Carlsbad, California-based Gemological Institute of America, Okavango Diamond Co. Managing Director Marcus ter Haar said in an interview Wednesday in the capital, Gaborone.
Hope Diamond’s “cut is not as precise or beautiful as ours and the purity is lower even though it’s bigger” at 45.5 carats, Ter Haar said. “A collector would look at the beauty of our diamond and say while it’s smaller, the color, clarity and unmodified cut represents more value.”
Okavango Diamond Co. will undertake a global marketing campaign among high net-worth buyers and collectors in London, New York, Geneva and Hong Kong this year, Ter Haar said. The company could also team up with an international auction house if it was decided that was the best way to sell the diamond.
ODC acquired bought the Okavango Blue as part of its agreed 15 percent share of Debswana’s production. Debswana, an equal joint venture between Anglo American Plc’s De Beers unit and Botswana’s government, runs four operations in the southern African country, including the Orapa mine, where the gem was unearthed. De Beers’ Diamond Trading Co. markets the other 85 percent of output.
Ter Haar wouldn’t be drawn on the price Okavango Blue could fetch or what ODC paid for it. “The geologist who found it called his supervisor to verify if it was really a diamond because Orapa does not produce such types,” he said. “When we received it at ODC, we also couldn’t believe what we had because it did not look quite real.”
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