Sierra Leone Pastor Donates Huge Diamond
BBC NEWS AT BBC.CO.UK/NEWS
A 709-carat diamond discovered by a Sierra Leonean pastor sold for $6.5 million at auction in December 2017.
Called “the peace diamond,” it is the 14th-largest diamond ever found and the biggest found in Sierra Leone since 1972. The diamond was expected to sell for far more, but experts said the market was down at the time of the sale, and they also were concerned that it would not cut and polish into large, high-quality jewels.
Emmanuel Momoh, a Christian pastor in the eastern Kono district, discovered the precious stone. He chose to hand it over to the government instead of selling it to smugglers or middlemen.
Momoh said that selling the diamond to middlemen would not have benefited the community. “We lack a lot of things,” he said. “We don’t have a good road network; we don’t have better schools or drinking water.”
Rapaport Group, which waived all fees, handled the sale. Group Chairman Martin Rapaport said the diamond was fascinating.
“Inside this diamond there are many other diamonds,” he said. “All experts that see it see different things inside of it.”
He said that all the money accrued from the sale will go to Sierra Leone and that it will be used to help the community where it was mined. He added that this will bring about a “sea change in the relationship between artisanal miners and the government” if the community is seen to benefit from the diamond. “It will encourage others to work with the government.”