Sierra Leone auctions off "peace diamond" for US$6.5 million

One of the world's largest diamonds sold for $6.5 million

One of the world's largest ever uncut diamonds has been sold by Sierra Leone for $6.5 million (£4.8m).

"Peace diamond" plays on the term "blood diamond", which were diamonds rebel groups sold during Sierra Leone's brutal civil war in the 1990s to buy arms and ammunition.

Fifty nine percent of the money is to go to the West African nation, while 26 percent will benefit the artisanal diggers who found the diamond.

The worldwide diamond trading network that handled the auction, the Rapaport Group, said the stone had gone to British billionaire and jeweler, Laurence Graff.

The "Peace Diamond", which is also referred to unofficially as "divine diamond", because it is owned by a pastor, was discovered in the eastern Kono District of Sierra Leone earlier this year.

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

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Sierra Leone is one of the world's largest diamonds and its proceeds will be used for development projects in Sierra Leone.

"We showed the diamond everywhere".

Ernest Bai Koroma. The president of Sierra Leone praised Momoh "for not smuggling the diamond out of the country".

According to the statement, the Sierra Leone government lost a little more than $500,000 after declining a bid of $7.08 million back in May.

The issue spawned a Hollywood movie and saw many celebrities castigated for wearing them and launching campaigns to highlight their trade.

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