Sierra Leone to Sell Multi-million Dollar Diamond to Help Poor

26 October, 2017

Sierra Leone hopes to raise millions of dollars for development projects by selling a large uncut diamond. It is believed to be one of the largest diamonds in the world. The public sale will take place in New York in December.

The 709-carat gemstone is known as the Peace Diamond. This will be the second time Sierra Leone tries to sell the diamond. The government rejected the highest bid of $7.8 million at its first public sale in New York in May.

More than half of the earnings from the sale will be used for water, electricity, education and health projects in Sierra Leone, especially to aid Koryardu. That is the eastern village where the diamond was found.

A 709-carat diamond, found in Sierra Leone and known as the
A 709-carat diamond, found in Sierra Leone and known as the "Peace Diamond", is displayed during a tour ahead of its auction, at Israel's Diamond Exchange, in Ramat Gan, Israel, Oct. 19, 2017. (REUTERS/Nir Elias)

Martin Rapaport is chairman of Rapaport Group, an organization of diamond companies which will manage the sale. He told Reuters, "There's a reason God gave these diamonds to the poorest people in the world and made the richest people want them...this is making the world a better place."

The Rapaport Group described the diamond as the 14th largest in the world. A Christian clergyman discovered it in March and gave it to the government.

Diamonds were a conflict resource in Sierra Leone's 10-year civil war, which ended in 2002. Rebels would buy weapons with earnings from diamond sales. This led to the creation of the term ‘blood diamond.'

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Mark Hanrahan wrote this story for Reuters in London. Jonathan Evans adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in this Story

bid – n. an offer to pay a particular amount of money for something

carat – n. a unit for measuring the weight of jewels (such as diamonds) that is equal to 200 milligrams

manage – v. to take care of and make decisions about someone's time, money, etc.