Sierra Leone claims to have discovered a diamond worth at least $6.2 million, according to a Feb. 22 Yahoo News report. The diamond, which was dug up last week in the eastern region of Kono district measures 153 carats, and has been declared one of the most precious finds in recent years. The runner up diamond, discovered in the same area in 2013 measured a mere 125 carats, the National Mineral Agency said.
“This 153.44-carat diamond is one of the finest diamonds to be found in Sierra Leone in the last 10 years,” the agency said in a statement. Graded as D+ on the color scale, it ranks high on the exclusivity list. With almost no hint of yellow or nitrogen impurities, the agency declared that the rare find “could only be matched or surpassed by fancy diamonds such as blue or pink in terms of price,” adding “The diamond is a cleavage in terms of shape and the clarity is of very high quality.”
According to Straits Times, the agency concludes that had it been shaped otherwise, the price would have been estimated much higher. “In other words, this is a premium stone as a result of its colour and clarity, and had it been an octahedron-shaped stone, it could have almost doubled the price of $6 million.”
So what does this discovery mean for Sierra Leone, which has been consistently declared one of the poorest countries in the world following a violent 11-year civil war which ended in 2002? Time will tell. After all, the word diamond conjures up for many, images of rebel leaders and child soldiers spurred on by the benefits from “blood diamond” sales. Even Hollywood took notice with the movie, "Blood Diamond" starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou.
It may be the poorest country to some, but when comes to natural resources, Sierra Leone boasts more than a girl’s best friend. It is rich in bauxite, gold and titanium ore, among others. WPEC-TV CBS 12 News reports that small-scale mining has sustained the country's eastern region since diamonds were discovered in 1930. And who can forget the country’s massive 968.9-carat star, which still is the largest alluvial diamond ever found. It was mined in 1972, according to WPEC-TV.