New Palme D’Or Encrusted with 167 Diamonds


Paris – For the first time ever, this year, the Cannes Festival will introduce its Palme d’Or trophy with 167 diamonds. The addition of diamonds comes in celebration of the prestigious film festival’s 70th edition, which will be held on the French southern coast with a massive international media coverage.

The French jeweler Chopard was chosen to make the new encrusted trophies set with diamonds. In an official statement, Chopard announced that the trophy will be made with 118 grams of pure gold and 0,694 carat of mini diamonds.

The award has become the symbol of the festival. It is first poured in a wax mold, injected with gold, and then softened by hand. The palm settles on a one-kilogram crystal cushion, which grants it its special uniqueness.

The award requires 40 hours of work by 7 jewelers. Caroline Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, designed the trophy in 1998. Each trophy costs 20,000 euro.

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar will chair the jury at the festival that runs from May 17 to May 28 while the actress Monica Bellucci will conduct the ceremony.

Sierra Leone Pastor Unearths 706-carat Diamond

Freetown- A pastor working in the mines of eastern Sierra Leone has unearthed a 706-carat diamond.

The diamond was presented to President Ernest Bai Koroma late Wednesday before being locked in Freetown’s central bank vault. It awaits an official valuation under the Kimberley Process, which certifies diamonds as “conflict-free”.

It will then be sold in Sierra Leone under a transparent bidding process, a government statement said, thanking the chief of the Tankoro area where the stone was found for not smuggling it out of the country.

Without a professional assessment of the diamond’s potential flaws and coloring it is impossible to value the stone.

A 1,111-carat diamond was discovered at a mine in Botswana in 2015, the biggest find for more than a century.

That gem is second in size only to the Cullinan diamond which was unearthed in South Africa in 1905, at 3,106 carats uncut, according to the Cape Town Diamond Museum.

Giant Diamond Fails to Sell at Auction

London-The biggest uncut diamond to be discovered in over a century failed to sell at a Sotheby’s auction on Wednesday, but the chief executive of Lucara Diamond Corp, the company that found the gem, said there was interest from buyers in the diamond trade.

Bids for the 1,109-carat, tennis ball-sized stone topped out at $61 million – an amount that fell short of the undisclosed minimum reserve price.

Sotheby’s had estimated that the diamond, found last November at Lucara’s mine in Botswana, would sell for more than $70 million.

“The fact that the stone didn’t sell, yes, it is disappointing but it doesn’t change anything for Lucara as a company,” Lucara CEO William Lamb said in a telephone interview from London.

“There is definitely demand for the stone. It is just demand from the people who we would normally sell the stone to,” he said.

Shares in Vancouver-based Lucara ended down 14.5 percent at C$3.35 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after news of the failed sale.

“The result is a disappointing one, and potentially calls into question the sale method chosen,” BMO analyst Edward Sterck said in a note to clients.

The public auction route is unusual for large, rare diamonds, which are usually offered for sale to small groups of sophisticated diamond dealers.

Lucara chose the auction route, Lamb said, because it wanted to have “access to as many ultra-high net worth individuals as possible, those people who had bought very expensive items in the past.”

Lucara had not yet decided what to do with the stone, he added, but possibilities include loaning it to museums to increase its exposure and to help educate the public about diamonds.

“We don’t have to sell it because … we have an exceptionally strong balance sheet. We have well over $150 million to $160 million in cash, we have no debt,” Lamb said.