The 14th largest diamond in the world sold for $6,536,360 (USD) in New York on Monday (December 4).
Sierra Leone will fund its development projects with the proceeds from the auction. This was the government’s second attempt to sell the 709-carat uncut gem, known as the “Peace Diamond,” after it rejected the highest bid of $7.07 million saying it failed to meet its own valuation at an initial auction in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown in May.
“I don’t know what that offer in Sierra Leone was, how serious or capable or whatever. If you have a choice between Laurence Graff buying your diamond and promoting the idea of a ‘Peace Diamond’ or going to somebody who you don’t know?” said Martin Rapaport, chairman of Rapaport Group, a network of diamond companies that managed the auction.
What's the value of the life of a child in Sierra Leone? What's the value of clean water? That's the value that's here. And that's what Laurence Graff is buying. So I think it's amazing to have such an important personage in the diamond industry. I'm sorry. I worked as hard as we could. We showed the diamond everywhere
“What’s the value of the life of a child in Sierra Leone? What’s the value of clean water? That’s the value that’s here. And that’s what Laurence Graff is buying. So I think it’s amazing to have such an important personage in the diamond industry. I’m sorry. I worked as hard as we could. We showed the diamond everywhere. We did whatever we could and that’s the best price that we can get from the market today,” he continued.
Over half of the proceeds from the sale will be used to fund clean water, electricity, education and health projects in Sierra Leone, and particularly in the village of Koryardu, in the Kono region in eastern Sierra Leone, where the diamond was discovered.
The giant egg-sized stone was unearthed in Koryardu in March by a Christian pastor who gave it to the government.
Diamonds fueled a decade-long 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.”