A 709-carat “Peace Diamond” unearthed in Sierra Leone was sold for US$6.5m in New York on Monday. The proceeds will be used for development projects in Sierra Leone.
“Peace Diamond” is an attempt by Sierra Leone to distance itself from its dark history of “blood diamonds”, which are diamonds mined in the conflict zone. The civil war in Sierra Leone started in 1991 and continued until 2002. Rebels forced civilians to mine diamonds and bought weapons with the proceeds, leading to the term “blood diamonds”.
The "Peace Diamond" was discovered in March in Sierra Leone’s eastern Kono region by Emmanuel Momoh, a Christian pastor. He handed it to the government to handle the sale. The government had rejected a bid of US$7.8m at an earlier auction in the capital Freetown in May. This sale was the government’s second attempt to sell the diamond but the gem was sold for a lower price US$6.5m.
Lesedi La Rona
The “Peace Diamond” is said to be the 14th largest recorded diamond in the world. It was bought by British luxury jeweller Laurence Graff, who has also purchased many giant diamonds, including a 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona that worth US$53m.
The world’s largest rough diamond in the record is Cullinan Diamond, weighing 3,106.75 carats, discovered in 1905 in South Africa. It was presented to King Edward VII on his 66th birthday and produced stones of various cuts and sizes from the original.