Botswana holds first diamond auction

Jun 26, 2013, 12:46 PM EDT
A diamond cutter checks a 2 carat diamond in Gaborone on March 18, 2008.

Botswana, the world's largest diamond producer, is switching the auction of its stones to Gaborone instead of selling them in Europe, an early step in what the Botswana government hopes will be the transformation of its capital into a diamond hub to rival Antwerp and Tel Aviv. A test auction this week will be followed by full-scale sales from September. State-owned Okavango Diamond Co. is running the auction. Okavango will sell 12% of the output of Debswana, the country's main diamond miner which the government co-owns with De Beers. Last year, De Beers said it would move its rough stone sorting to Botswana after 80 years in London.