‘Peace Diamond’ auctioned for $6.5 million

A 709-carat diamond found in Sierra Leone in March, 2017. Sierra Leone said Saturday miners had unearthed a huge 476-carat diamond, eight months the discovery of the so-called ‘Peace Diamond’. Photo: Reuters

NEW YORK: Sierra Leone sold one of the world’s largest uncut diamonds for $6.5 million at a New York auction on Monday to raise funds for development projects in the West African country. The egg-sized gem-known as the “Peace Diamond”-was bought by British luxury jeweler Laurence Graff, said Martin Rapaport, chairman of Rapaport Group, a network of diamond companies that managed the auction. “One hundred percent of the value of this diamond, of the auction sale of this diamond, is going to go to the government and the people of Sierra Leone. Never before has this happened,” Rapaport told reporters.

The gem was unearthed in March in Sierra Leone’s eastern Kono region by a Christian pastor who gave it to the government to handle the sale. It was the government’s second attempt to sell the diamond after it rejected the highest bid of $7.8 million at an initial auction in the capital Freetown in May. Ahead of Monday’s auction the diamond was shown to some 70 potential buyers and received seven bids, Rapaport said.

This article was published on 05/12/2017