It is an oft-noted fact that some of the world’s most expensive diamonds have been mined in some of the world’s poorest countries. When these diamonds sell for millions of dollars on the international market a very valid question would be “Has the local community benefitted from the recovery of this diamond?” and if not, how does the diamond industry change this?
Now, the iconic 709-carat Sierra Leone “Peace Diamond” will be auctioned off with exactly that intent – to directly benefit the community in which it was discovered. Found in March this year by diamond diggers in Koryardo, a village in Sierra Leone, the diamond is the 3rd biggest ever found in the country and the 14th biggest diamond ever discovered world-wide. The idea is to inspire others traders to benefit the countries from which the stones come.
Rapaport Auctions is set to auction the Peace Diamond on the 4th December in New York. Earlier this year, the Sierra Leone government attempted to auction the stone locally, but the highest received bid of $7.7million was deemed to be too low for the value of the stone.
Over 50% of the sale value will be used to fund clean water, electricity, school, medical facilities, bridges and roads, none of which are currently available in the village of Koryardu, where the diamond was found, Rapaport said in a statement.
“The Peace Diamond will greatly improve the lives of our people as it will bring clean water, electricity, schools, medical facilities, bridges and roads to our villages and the Kono District. This diamond represents our hope for a better future as the resources of Sierra Leone fund growth, development and jobs,” said Pastor Emmanuel Momoh, the owner of the diamond.
Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group, has noted that, “The lucky buyers of the Peace Diamond and the resultant polished Peace Diamonds can take pride in knowing that they have created a better life for tens of thousands of people”.
“This is a diamond that makes the world a better place. This is a diamond with spiritual sparkle” adds Rapaport.
We trust that other governments and mining companies will follow the example set by the Peace Diamond and work towards greater community beneficiation.