The Rapaport Group will auction the 709-carat Peace Diamond in New York in early December following viewings in global trading centers, the company announced Tuesday.
The rough stone, considered the 14th-largest diamond in history, is on display in Israel until October 27, and will go on show in Belgium from October 30 to November 10. It will appear in New York starting November 13 ahead of the evening auction on December 4.
Artisanal miners found the diamond in Sierra Leone’s Kono district 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 diamond’s value comes more from its story than from its physical characteristics, he insisted.
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.
While Rapaport has not released the rough diamond’s color 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 labor of love.”