One of the world’s largest uncut diamonds from Sierra Leone, dubbed the Peace Diamond, has been sold for $6.5 million. British luxury jeweler Laurence Graff purchased the egg-sized diamond on behalf of his business, Graff Diamonds. The sale will raise funds for development projects in the West African country.

The 709 carat Peace Diamond was discovered in Sierra Leone’s eastern Kono region by a Christian pastor who gave it to the government to handle the sale. 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.

This sale is different to other diamond sales because of the meaning behind the purchase.  According to Rapaport chairman Martin Rapaport, “The color 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.” The diamond’s sale will have a big impact on society because it will go towards upliftment projects in Sierra Leone. Rapaport goes on to say that “…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.”

According to Rapaport, who managed the auction, “100% of the value of this diamond, of the auction sale, is going to go to the government and the people of Sierra Leone. Never before has this happened,”

The Sierra Leone government will receive about $3.9 million of the final selling price of the Peace Diamond 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.

“It is always special to be able to give back to the places that provide us with these beautiful stones,” Graff said. “Every diamond that passes through our hands is imbued with our passion and expertise. Our expert team of gemologists will now begin to assess the exquisite internal beauty of Mother Nature’s finest raw material.”

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