Josephine Lan, 7, has got herself another diamond, and not any old diamond from her father, Joseph Lan, the owner of property firm Chinese Estate Holdings. She received the most expensive diamond in the world, the “Blue Moon” fetched at an extraordinary $48.4 million and weighed a hefty 12.03 carat.
In 2009, he purchased another blue diamond for the same daughter and named it “Star of Josephine.” The diamond had an estimated net worth of $9.8 billion, placing him as the 114th richest person in the world. Mr. Lan can afford such extravagance.
The Blue Moon diamond came from the Cullivan Mine in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. The province is where the majority of the world’s most famous diamonds have been found, and for 100 years, Cullivan Mine has literally been unearthing many of the well-known diamonds in the world. Parts of the Crown Jewels of Great Britain and the Golden Jubilee Diamond came from there.
Before being purchased by the Hong Kong-based billionaire, a temporary exhibition to show the stone was held at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, thus giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about the diamond.
According to Suzette Gomes, the CEO of Cora International, one of the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of white and coloured diamonds, “fancy vivid blue diamonds are extremely rare and the Blue Moon is no exception. It is a historic stone that is one of the rarest gems with this colour and in this size to be found in recent history.”
No doubt visitors oohed and awed at the magnificence of the diamond. However, Petra Diamonds, owners of Cunning Mine as well as other mines in South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana, didn’t tell the visitors of the exhibition about the working conditions of the workers at the mine. Already in 2009, when another blue diamond was found at the mine, workers there were losing their jobs in drove. Petra Diamonds explained their decision to the unions by stating that “the ongoing deterioration in our income was forcing us to revise, review and replace all previous collective agreements.” With that memo, 900 people saw their jobs put on the line.
Johan Dippenaar, the Chief Executive of Petra Diamonds, justified the cost cuttings with the fall in diamond prices on the market driven by the weak demand from Chinese buyers who until 2007 had been driving the market.
Unfortunately, the sale of the “Blue Moon” diamond, now renamed Blue Moon of Josephine will not do anything to better the working conditions of the miners than they already are. Petra, who acquired the mine from other diamond giant De Beers, are more concerned with production rather than exploration, and as such, will be looking at how to maximize profits in a market that is slowing down more and more.