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

Bulgaria A Huge Peace of Diamond Was sold for $ 6.5 Million

The government of the West African country of Sierra Leone has auctioned off a rough "peace diamond" for US$6.5 million (NT$195 million), with half the proceeds to benefit the local community, reports said.

The gem, called the "peace diamond", is about the size of an egg and was sold at auction in NY.

Of the proceeds of the stone dubbed the "Peace Diamond", the government will get 59 per cent or about US$3.9 million in tax revenue to fund clean water, electricity, schools, health centres and roads, said Martin Rapaport of the Rapaport Group.

"One hundred percent of the value of this diamond, of the auction sale of this diamond, is going to go to the government and the people of Sierra Leone".

"The Peace Diamond bought by Laurence Graff will change lives even though it's a shame the diamond hasn't sold for a wildly expensive price", the managing director of 77diamonds.com, Tobias Kormind, said.

The diamond was found by a group of impoverished artisanal diggers in Koryardu, Sierra Leone.

Ahead of Monday's auction, the diamond was shown to some 70 potential buyers and received seven bids, Rapaport said.

In the past, "conflict diamonds" funded warlords and their campaigns during a decade of civil war in the small country.

The United Nations lifted a ban on diamond exports from Sierra Leone in 2003, but the multimillion-dollar sector is still plagued by smuggling.

The Sierra Leone government rejected a bid of $7.8m at an earlier auction.

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