The Sierra Leone government sold the 709-carat Peace Diamond to Graff Diamonds for $6.5 million on Monday at an auction in New York.
The second largest rough diamond ever discovered in Sierra Leone, The Peace Diamond was unearthed near the village of Koryardu by a team of five artisanal miners helped and supported by Pastor Emmanuel Momo.
“The sale, which the Rapaport Group managed for free, marks a sea change for the diamond trade, as the stone’s value came from the impact it would have on society rather than from its physical characteristics”, said Rapaport chairman Martin Rapaport.
The proceeds from the sale will go toward projects to help the people of Sierra Leone, to that country, village and community that found the diamond.
Graff chairman Laurence Graff “usually doesn’t buy anything that’s not a D or E colour,” Rapaport explained. “The colour of this diamond is very uncertain. Laurence Graff paid more money because he believes this diamond is a special diamond because it’s going to help the poorest people in the world.”
“When you get someone like Graff interested in the social benefits, in the social responsibility, you’re opening a new world of diamond demand — demand for diamonds that make the world a better place.” ∼ Rapaport
“We are honoured to have acquired this magnificent rough diamond – and to know that this sale will directly benefit a country so desperately in need. It is always great to be able to give back to those lands that provide us with these beautiful gems.” ∼ Laurence Graff
The acquisition of The Peace Diamond reinforces Graff Diamonds and Laurence Graff efforts in giving back to those countries where the diamonds are sourced. We encourage you to visit the following website to find more information: www.facet-foundation.org.
The Peace Diamond will greatly improve our people’s life because it will give drinkable water, electricity, schools, medical places, bridges and roads to our villages and to the Kono Region.” ∼ Emmanuel Momo
The Sierra Leone government will receive about $3.9 million of the final selling price as taxes, Rapaport said. Another $980,454 will enter a community development fund, while about $1 million will go to local diggers in the West African nation’s Kono district, where workers found the diamond in March of this year.
The price of $6.5 million was lower than the bid of $7.8 million that the government rejected when it put the stone on a tender in May.
Sources: Rapaport / The Diamond Net; Graff Diamonds