The massive diamond found in Sierra Leone this week will be sold through an international bid, even as estimates of its value are soaring.
This diamond has been upgraded in quality from 706 carats to 709. It is the 10th-largest gem ever found, and its estimated value has grown from $5 million to 75 million pounds or $93 million, according to a mining expert in Freetown, South Africa who asked not to be named.
Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma has instructed mining authorities to sell the gem through an international bid for interested parties from all over the world, said a statement from the country’s minerals agency Saturday.
The statement says the diamond will also be on public display at the Bank of Sierra Leone ahead of the auction and verification that the gem is not a conflict diamond.
Sierra Leone suffered from an 11-year civil conflict partially financed by blood diamonds, resulting in the incarceration of Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor, who was sentenced in 2012.
By Alpha Kamara in Dakar