The government of Sierra Leone has announced it will auction a 709 carat rough diamond, which it has named the Peace Diamond, for the benefit of its people, on 4 December in New York. While 65% of the world’s diamonds come from Africa, the Peace Diamond will be instrumental in making the world a better place. The Peace Diamond is being marketed by the Rapaport Group which is offering its services pro bono. Fifty per cent of proceeds from the sale of the Peace Diamond will go directly towards bringing clean water, electricity, schools, medical facilities, bridges and roads to the community where the diamond was discovered and its local people, where 250,000 people live.
The Peace Diamond is the third largest diamond found in Sierra Leone and the 14th largest rough diamond ever found worldwide. It was discovered in river sediment by five artisanal miners in Eastern Sierra Leone in the village of Koryardu.
“The Peace Diamond has many diamonds within it and it’s a very complicated stone,” said Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group. “It is so much more than a 709 carat diamond. We are talking about a diamond that will make the world a better place and I hope the price it fetches will reflect that value too. I believe in the positive energy of the Peace Diamond and the great good it will do for the people of Sierra Leone. This is a diamond with spiritual sparkle.”
The Peace Diamond was brought to Sierra Leone’s president by Pastor Emmanuel Momoh in the village of Koryardu. The very public and transparent sale of such a large diamond is a step change for Sierra Leone and the result of the humility and patriotism of Pastor Momoh and the honesty of Sierra Leon’s President Ernest Bai Koroma. Over the last two decades, Sierra Leone has suffered in a bloody civil war and outbreaks of Ebola. When the president saw the stone, he immediately announced it would be sold via a transparent international auction. it is hoped this will encourage other poor artisanal diggers to come forward in the future, should they make similar discoveries, in the knowledge their honesty will be rewarded. In the coming weeks, Rapaport will transport the diamond from Tel Aviv, to Antwerp and New York prior to the December sale.
“I hope we see much more of this,” says 77Diamonds managing director Tobias Kormind. “Sierra Leone is following Botswana’s example. Botswana was once one of Africa’s poorest nations but today thanks to its diamonds, Botswana has a literacy rate of over 80% and child mortality rates have plummeted by more than 70% since the 1960s when diamonds were first discovered there. The sale of the Peace Diamond, a partnership between the Sierra Leone government and the Rapaport Group, is a model with integrity and vision.”