The 910-carat diamond found in southern Africa in January has given British mining company Gem Diamonds 40 million reasons to be overjoyed about the discovery.
The gem, dubbed the Lesotho Legend in an homage to the country where it was found, sold for $40 million to an undisclosed buyer in a deal finalized Monday in Antwerp, Belgium, the mining company announced.
Recovered from the mountain area Letšeng strip mine in January, the stone is believed to be the fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered. It is classified as a D color, Type IIa diamond, the highest color and quality ratings.
No additional information was available about the transaction, Ollie Mills, a London-based spokesman for Gem Diamonds, said Tuesday.
The company said the diamond and its sale price reaffirmed "the unique quality of the Letšeng diamond production."
The Letšeng mine since 2006 has produced more than 60 gems of at least 100 carats, predominantly high-value, white diamonds. The Lesotho Legend is at least the eighth high-value diamond recovered there in little more than a decade. Others include the 603-carat Lesotho Promise, found in 2006, the 550-carat Letšeng Star, recovered in 2011, and the 493-carat Lesotho Legacy, found in 2007.
"It's a freak of nature," Tom Moses, the Gemological Institute of America's executive vice president, said of the mine in a USA TODAY interview last month.
The sale process for large, uncut diamonds is traditionally secretive. However, Michael Marty, the director of diamond supply management for Blue Nile, a Seattle-based online diamond jeweler, estimated in a separate USA TODAY interview in February that the 910-carat diamond could be cut to produce 10 to 30 high-quality stones of various sizes.
Gem Diamonds previously said the 603-carat Lesotho Promise sold for $12.4 million and was crafted into 26 flawless, smaller diamonds.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kevin McCoy on Twitter: @kmccoynyc