709 carat Sierra Leone 'Peace diamond' sold in NY auction

Marco Green
December 5, 2017

Sierra Leone has sold one of the world's largest diamonds at an auction in NY, fetching a lower-than-expected price of $ 6.5 million.

"It will encourage all the diggers back home", Chief Paul Ngaba Saquee, head of Sierra Leone's eastern Kono district, where the diamond was found in March, told the news conference.

"I handed over the diamond to the government because I am loyal to my nation".

In contrast, the 709-carat rough gem sold in NY will see its proceeds used to improve conditions in the small village where it was found. Schools, hospitals, electricity, clean water and transportation all stand to benefit from the sale, according to the Rapaport Group, which handled the auction.

One of the world's largest diamonds sold for $6.5 million
709 carat Sierra Leone 'Peace diamond' sold in NY auction

British jewellers Laurence Graff bought the stone, according to Martin Rapaport, whose group hosted the auction. The village lacks schools, hospitals, roads, electricity and clean water.

This is not the first "Peace Diamond" is put up for sale. The government was expecting about $7 million. Two months later, authorities announced they would try selling it again.

Diamonds fuelled a decadelong civil war in Sierra Leone, ending in 2002, in which rebels forced civilians to mine the stones and bought weapons with the proceeds, leading to the term "blood diamonds".

Emmanuel Momoh, a 39-year-old pastor who is also one of hundreds of so-called artisanal miners in Kono, Sierra Leone's key mining district, found this diamond - the second-largest ever found in the West African nation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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