Markets

Sierre Leone sells 709-carat diamond for $6.5 million at auction

Sierre Leone sells 709-carat diamond for $6.5 million at auction

A Christian pastor had given away the more than 709-carat diamond so the government could fund local development projects.

The 14th largest diamond in the world, Sierra Leone "Peace Diamond" sold for $6,536,360 (USD) in NY on Monday. "Laurence Graff paid more money because he believes this diamond is a special diamond because it's going to help the poorest people in the world", Martin Rapaport said in the release.

The stone was extracted in March by Emmanuel Momoh, a pastor in one of the myriad churches that ministers to the mining communities of Kono district, the diamond centre of the war-torn West African nation. Named the Peace Diamond, $3.8 million of the proceeds will directly benefit 250,000 inhabitants of a region with no school, hospital, clean water, roads or electricity.

The government had expected the stone, the first ever to be sold at a public auction, to fetch $7 million.




The Rapaport Group reports in a news release that it sold the 709-carat Peace Diamond for the government free of charge.

While the war ended, Sierra Leone still has to deal with diamond smugglers and with exploitation of workers, with activists hoping the case of the "peace diamond" will herald a new, more equitable era for the country's residents and laborers.

Senior officials were nonetheless optimistic about the sale's effects on the illicit diamond trade in Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leone government rejected a bid of $7.8m at an earlier auction.


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