THE PEACE DIAMOND: A SIERRA LEONE STORY

 

PEACE DIAMOND BACKGROUND

The Peace Diamond is a 709 carat rough diamond discovered by a team of five artisanal diggers near the
village of Koryardu in Sierra Leone on March 13, 2017. It is the world’s 14th largest diamond measuring
approximately 2.5 inches wide and 1 inch deep.

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Pastor Emanuel Momoh, the manager and financial supporter of the digger team is the legal owner of
the diamond and a leader in the village and community where the diamond was found. In spite of offers
to smuggle the diamond, he insisted that the diamond be sold through official government channels so that
the financial benefits of this diamond would be properly shared with his village, district and the
people of Sierra Leone.

Pastor Momoh with the 709ct. Diamond 

Pastor Momoh with the 709ct. Diamond 

Pastor Momoh immediately took the diamond to Paramount Chief of the Kono District Paul Ngaba Saquee V, and together they personally delivered the diamond to the President of Sierra Leone Dr.Ernest Bai Koroma. The president committed to ensuring a transparent and competitive auction process and a local Sierra Leone auction for the diamond was held in May 11, 2017.

Unfortunately the highest bid at the auction in Sierra Leone was only US $7.777 million and the bid was rejected. The government
and Pastor Momoh then decided that the diamond should be sold in an international auction that would make the diamond available to more buyers and ensure a fair market value price for the people of Sierra Leone.

The government of Sierra Leone appointed the Rapaport Group as the marketing and sales agent for the Peace Diamond on October 2, 2017. Instructions were given that the diamond was to be sold in a transparent and competitive auction process that will ensure fair market value. Due to the significant benefit the Peace Diamond will bring to the people of Sierra Leone and to encourage legitimate artisanal diamond distribution channels, the Rapaport Group has agreed to provide our marketing and auction
services for the Peace Diamond free of all charges.

The Peace Diamond represents all that is good in the diamond industry. Over 50% of the sales value of the diamond will directly benefit the people of Sierra Leone. The Peace Diamond will make a huge difference in the lives of the poorest people in world. It will provide villages with clean water, electricity, health care, schools, vital bridges and roads. It will create opportunities for sustainable economic development and jobs. The buyer of the 709 carat rough Peace Diamond will have an opportunity to brand the resultant polished diamonds as Peace Diamonds. These diamonds are the best diamonds because they have helped create a better life for tens of thousands of people.

President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma – “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.”

Pastor Momoh: “The Peace Diamond will greatly improve the lives of our people as it will bring clean water, electricity, schools, medical facilities, bridges and roads to our villages and the Kono District. This diamond represents our hope for a better future
as the resources of Sierra Leone fund growth, development and jobs”

Martin Rapaport: “I believe in the positive energy of the Peace Diamond and the great good it will do for the people of Sierra Leone. The lucky buyers of the Peace Diamond and the resultant polished Peace Diamonds can take pride in knowing that they have created a better life for tens of thousands of people. This is a diamond that makes the world a better place. This is a diamond with spiritual sparkle.”

I believe in the positive energy of the Peace Diamond and the great good it will do for the people of Sierra Leone. The lucky buyers of the Peace Diamond and the resultant polished Peace Diamonds can take pride in knowing that they have created a better life for tens of thousands of people. This is a diamond that makes the world a better place. This is a diamond with spiritual sparkle”
— Martin Rapaport

THE PEACE DIAMOND CHALLENGE


October 26, 2017

The Peace Diamond is a 709.48 carat rough diamond discovered on March 13, 2017 by impoverished artisanal diggers in Koryardu, Sierra Leone. It is the 14th largest diamond ever found. At the request of the Sierra Leone government, the Rapaport Group is marketing and auctioning the diamond in New York
on Dec 4, 2017 free of charge.
 
Koryardu is one of the poorest places on earth. Sometimes there is insufficient food. There is no infrastructure. No clean water, electricity, medical care or school. No bridges or roads. No jobs. But Koryardu has good, honest people. Those that found the diamond refused to sell it for cash and let it be smuggled out of the country. They insisted on turning the diamond over to the government to sell for them. They trust the government to get them a fair market price and that the tax revenue from the
diamond will be used to provide vital infrastructure for their community and other communities in need across Sierra Leone. Taxes from the sale of the Peace Diamond will be paid to the government. (15% Royalty from total sales price and another 30% Income Tax).
 
The diggers have put their trust in the government to do the right thing. Such trust is the basis for peace in Sierra Leone. All eyes are on the Peace Diamond. What will become of the diamond and the wealth it creates? This diamond and its wealth will not disappear as other diamond have in the past.

The first challenge is for the Government of Sierra Leone to allocate a reasonable share of its revenue from the Peace Diamond to benefit artisanal mining areas. This will create more trust and encourage more diggers to sell their diamonds through official channels, resulting in increased government revenue and building vital infrastructure. This Peace Diamond is an opportunity for the legitimization of
Sierra Leone’s diamond sector with formal channels of sales, distribution, and taxation.

Sierra Leone has many desperate needs for funds. Government revenue must be shared with non-artisanal sectors. However, the opportunity for creating a positive economic cycle of activity in the artisanal sector should not be ignored. A reasonable allocation of the revenue from the Peace Diamond to the artisanal sector will bootstrap economic growth as it increases trust in government.

The Peace Diamond will bring money to Koryardu and the Kono district. It will bring grassroots microeconomic prosperity, increasing jobs and opportunity for some of the poorest people in the world. It will create a better life for tens of thousands.
 The second Peace Diamond Challenge is for the diamond and jewelry industry. The Rapaport Group challenges the diamond industry to transcend the commodity approach of selling diamonds based solely on their physical characteristics. There is more to diamonds than the 4 C’s. The solution to low profit commoditization is straightforward. The diamond industry must create “emotional value” for diamonds.
The big idea behind the Peace Diamond is that a “diamond that makes the world a better place” has more value. It has positive energy because it has caused good things to happen. The challenge for the diamond trade is to create value by marketing and selling the positive impact that good diamonds bring to the world around them. It is time for us to sell the story behind the diamond - not just the diamond.
Let’s create value by creating ideas that differentiate our diamonds and enable them to communicate high level emotions. Let’s make our diamonds more special and more beautiful because of the good they have done. The challenge is to embody our diamonds with emotional value that make people feel very good about them. Creating, marketing and selling such emotional value is my challenge to the
diamond industry.

So as to move things along we are offering $5,000 to whomever comes up with the best short video under 2.5 min., that creates socially responsible emotional value for diamonds. There will be two deadlines and two $5,000 offers. First deadline November 15. Second deadline December 18. The emphasis should be “diamonds that make the world a better place.” For submissions email:
PeaceDiamond@Diamonds.Net.


Regarding our auction of the 709 carat Sierra Leone Peace Diamond on December 4, 2017, we ask our readers to use their social media connections to tell the story and communicate the idea of Peace Diamonds that make the world a better place. 
Contact us at the above email for more information. Your ideas and suggestions are most welcome. The Peace Diamond is an opportunity for our industry to focus on what is good about diamonds and the diamond trade. Let’s work together and make the world a better place.
 

Martin Rapaport
Chairman
RAPAPORT