Sierra Leone auctions off "peace diamond" for US$6.5 million

Sierra Leone's 'peace diamond' auctioned for $6.5m in US

Sierra Leone's 709-carat 'peace diamond' sells for $6.5 million

"This diamond represents our hope for a better future as the resources of Sierra Leone fund growth, development and jobs".

One of the world's largest ever uncut diamonds has been sold by Sierra Leone for $6.5 million (£4.8m).

Laurence Graff, chairman of Graff Diamonds, won the precious stone - nicknamed the "peace diamond" - in bidding on Monday.

Ahead of Monday's auction, the diamond was shown to some 70 potential buyers and received seven bids, Rapaport said. Named the Peace Diamond, $3.8 million of the proceeds will directly benefit 250,000 inhabitants of a region with no school, hospital, clean water, roads or electricity.

The egg-sized 709-carat diamond, bought by Laurence Graff, a British billionaire and jeweller, is one of the largest ever discovered diamond in Sierra Leone and between the 10th and 15th largest ever found in the world, experts say.

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The Rapaport Group reports in a news release that it sold the 709-carat Peace Diamond for the government free of charge.

Ernest Bai Koroma. The president of Sierra Leone praised Momoh "for not smuggling the diamond out of the country".

"Instead of being ripped off in some dark corners when they find their diamonds, that they will bring it and put it on the table in front of the government", he said, adding: "Maybe this is going to be the beginning of a new day in Sierra Leone".

It was the government's second attempt to sell the gem after it rejected the highest bid of $7.8 million at an initial auction in the capital Freetown in May.

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