Rapaport To Auction 709-ct Peace Diamond In December
The Rapaport Group will auction the 709-carat Peace Diamond in New York in early December following viewings in global trading centres. The rough stone, considered the 14th-largest diamond in history, is on display in Israel until October 27th, and will go on show in Belgium from October 30th to November 10th. It will appear in New York starting November 13th ahead of the evening auction on December 4th.
Artisanal miners found the diamond in Sierra Leone’s Kono district in the village of Koryardu in March. The government auctioned the stone in May, but rejected the highest bid of $7.8 million, and subsequently appointed Rapaport as its sales and marketing agent.
The sale of the Peace Diamond in a transparent manner will ensure the proceeds go to building up key local infrastructure, explained Martin Rapaport, the group’s chairman, in an online video conference.
The sale will be liable to a 15% royalty to the Sierra Leone government and 30% income tax. In addition to Pastor Emmanuel Momoh, who owns the diamond, the five artisanal diggers who found it will receive a significant amount.
Over 50% of the sale value will directly benefit the people of Sierra Leone, as well as the village and district where the diamond was found. It will directly fund clean water, electricity, school, medical facilities, bridges and roads, none of which are currently available in Koryardu.
While Rapaport has not released the rough diamond’s colour and clarity specifications, it likely contains at least one 95-carat to 100-carat polished diamond, Martin Rapaport said. “This is not a simple diamond,” he explained. “It is a diamond which has many diamonds in it. This is probably one of the most complicated diamonds in the world. This is the beginning of a whole new concept of diamond marketing. For me personally, this is a labour of love.”
Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone, said, “I thank the local chief and his people for not smuggling the diamond out of the country, and the owners should get what is due to them and it should also benefit the country as a whole. The government remains committed to ensuring a transparent and competitive auction process that will ensure fair market value for Sierra Leone’s diamonds. We call on the worldwide diamond industry to bid generously for the Peace Diamond as it will bring vital infrastructure and benefit to thousands of Sierra Leone’s artisanal diggers.”