Sierra Leone and its hopeful discovery
The Kimberley process which controls the international diamond trade has been in place since 2003. The London Diamond Bourse estimates that 65% of the world’s diamonds are in African countries.
That’s why today’s article is to celebrate good news and the good news enlightens our hearts with the brilliance of a diamond!
Pastor Momoh of Koryardu, Sierra Leone
To tell this story it is necessary to go back in time a few years. In 2012, in the remote Kono region of Sierra Leone, in a small village called Koryardu, evangelical shepherd Emmanuel Momoh bought an excavation licence in that territory and began to work as a small-scale miner, as his meagre salary as a shepherd was not enough to feed his family. With the help of 18 collaborators, he spent days, months and eventually years digging in search of a gem, a diamond to help him out of poverty. For five years he found several diamonds the size of a grain of rice, barely enough to buy food and pay his team. In March of this year, the cry of one of the men: “Today God has blessed us,” swept away in an instant all the hardships suffered until then. It was the discovery of the second largest rough diamond in Sierra Leone’s history and one of the world’s fifteen largest recorded diamonds. I couldn’t sleep that night, we all prayed to thank God for what God has done for us,” the pastor told reporters months later.
The diamond in question is the size of a mandarin and is straw-coloured. Its weight is 709 carats and although it still needs to be examined by experts to know its quality, its value pre-auction has been estimated at 69 million euros. The unusual thing about the find is that it has been produced in an artisanal mine, where the work is carried out with extremely primitive methods, pickaxes, etc. without the support modern machinery.
Pastor Emmanuel Momoh does not hide the fact that the day after the discovery many of his friends and acquaintances urged him to remove the diamond from Sierra Leone illegally to avoid government taxes. This was not an unusual proposal until today many people smuggle gems across the Guinea Conakry border.
But Momoh stood firm and effectively demonstrated himself to be a man of good, faithful to his principles and consistent with his preaching and gave him to the authorities for transparent marketing. This fact, which was so logical to Momoh, seemed to the president of Sierra Leone, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, to be of an honest and unprecedented nature. In a statement, Koroma made public his gratitude for not having smuggled the diamond out of the country. Koroma further noted that Momoh, as the final owner of the stone, will receive “the amount due” – the authorities keep a percentage of the sale taxed – and stressed that the entire country will benefit from its transparent sale.
According to Forbes magazine analyst Guy Martin, Momoh’s decision to follow the legal channels for selling such a valuable stone deserves to remain in the memory of a country wounded by smuggling:”There are several factors that influence the naming of a large diamond: regions, countries, governments, buyers or businessmen. One hopes that this extraordinary find, believed to be one of the fifteen largest diamonds ever found, will be known as the Momoh Shepherd Diamond. He seems to have earned it.
Momoh, on the contrary, was the idea that the diamond should be called, as indeed it was finally called “The Peace Diamond”.
The Rapaport Group, responsible for marketing and selling the gem, has partnered with the government of Sierra Leone for free. The Group will transport the Peace Diamond to Israel, Belgium and New York before the December auction, where potential buyers are invited to see the gem in person. All offers will be communicated to ensure complete transparency.
Approximately 50% of the revenue from the sale of the diamond will go to the government, while the remaining 50% will benefit the local community in the Kono district.
It’s a diamond that has a lot of diamonds in it,” says Martin Rapaport, president of the Rapaport Group. “It’s not just a 709-carat diamond, it’s much more than that. For the first time, we see the legitimization of the distribution of artisanal diamonds from Sierra Leone. It’s one thing to have a beautiful Diamond D Flawless, but what’s really special is that here we’re talking about a Diamond that will create food, electricity, drinking water, education, roads and bridges.
Let us not forget that Sierra Leone is considered the poorest country in the world. The sale of the diamond at auction on December 4 will bring a significant economic benefit to the region of the country in which the gem was found, where many people live in extreme poverty.
The lucky buyer of the Peace Diamond – and the subsequent owners of the resulting polished Peace Diamonds – can be proud to know 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 brilliance,” Martin Rapaport added with a strong emotion.