100-carat diamond could fetch $25 million at auction
Perfection happens far and few between. For $25 million, it can be yours.
Today Sotheby’s New York will be selling a 100-carat, emerald cut diamond, the largest of its clarity and cut every shown at auction. Labeled as “flawless” and the “perfect” diamond, the stone is expected to fetch upwards of $25 million.
"Simply put, it has everything you could ever want from a diamond: the classic shape begs to be worn, while the quality puts it in an asset class of its own," said Lisa Hubbard, Chairman of North and South America for Sotheby's International Jewelry Division, in a press release.
The record for any diamond sold is $46 million for a 24.78-carat emerald-cut pink stone, which occurred at Sotheby’s in 2010. According to sources, only five “perfect” diamonds over 100 carats have sold at auction in the last 25 years.
"People everywhere have been drawn to it from across the room and they are in awe of its size, particularly when they put it on their hand," says Gary Schuler, the head of Sotheby's jewelry department in New York. "They can't believe there's a diamond this pure of such impressive scale."
The diamond was found by De Beers in southern Africa within the last 10 years. The current owner spent more than a year studying, cutting and polishing the rough diamond before delivering the stone to the auction house.
"A classic emerald cut like this one allows for a wide expanse of pure material to be viewed without the distraction of a more complex facet arrangement," Schuler says. "It's almost like looking at the glimmer of a reflecting pool."
British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars
The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change.
It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.
British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad.
Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe
After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company.
“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”
Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector.
Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial.
Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production
“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”
The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction.
Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably.
“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.
“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”
Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK.
“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”
Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.