Emmanuel I. Kamara
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 December 2017
If rumours making the news on social media is anything to go by about Sierra Leone’s so-called Peace Diamond, it will be the biggest surprise for Sierra Leoneans in 2017. A reliable source has disclosed to this writer that Graff Diamonds has on Monday 4th December 2017, won the bid for the 709 carats diamond for Six Million, Five Hundred and Thirty-Six Thousand United States Dollars ($ 6,536,000) in New York
This sale price is in sharp contrast to the $80 million which the Koroma government was expecting to receive early this year for the diamond. It could be recalled that a bid of Seven Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy Seven United States Dollars ($ 7,777,777) was rejected in Freetown by the APC government earlier this year for the same diamond.
Graff Diamonds is a British multinational jeweller based in London. A vertically integrated company. Graff operations carries out the design, manufacture and retail distribution of jewellery and watches. The company was founded in 1960 in London by Laurence Graff.
Notable diamonds sold by the company
The Windsor Yellows were acquired by Laurence Graff in 1987 in Geneva during the auction of the jewels belonging to Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. The Duchess was often photographed wearing the Windsor Yellows, a pair of clips of fancy yellow pear shaped diamonds of 51.01 and 40.22 carats respectively. “I also bought another pair of clips the Duchess had owned,” Laurence Graff explains. “Of course they needed re-cutting to bring them to their full potential, I bought all four, repolished them, and eventually made the Windsor earrings.”
The Paragon diamond was acquired by Graff in 1989. The Paragon is a 7-sided diamond of 137.82 carats (27.564 g), cut, and was worn as part of “millennium” necklace of round, pink, blue and yellow diamonds by Naomi Campbell in 1999.
The Lesotho Promise was acquired as a rough 603-carat (120.6 g) stone for $12.4 million in 2006. The stone was cut by a team of 35 using computer-controlled lasers into 26 D-flawless diamonds totaling 224 carats (44.8 g), the highest yield from a single diamond. In July 2007 the finished stones were unveiled. The largest gem cut from the diamond was a 75-carat (15.0 g) pear-shaped diamond; the smallest a 0.55-carat (110 mg) round brilliant. In all, twenty-six stones were fashioned from the rough gem, figuring as seven pear shapes, four emerald cuts, thirteen round brilliants and one heart shape. The finished gems total 224 carats (44.8 g).
The Letseng Legacy diamond was unearthed from the same mine as the Lesotho Promise Letseng diamond mine in 2008 and totalled 493cts. Acquired by Graff for $10.4 million, they yielded 20 diamonds totaling 231.67cts from the one rough stone.
The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond is a 31.06-carat (6.212 g) fancy deep-blue diamond with internally flawless clarity purchased by Laurence Graff in 2008 for £16.4 million.
The Delaire Sunrise is, at 118.08 carats, the largest square emerald cut Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond in the world. Discovered in 2008 at an alluvial mine in South Africa, the 221.81 carat rough diamond. When Laurence Graff unveiled the finished diamond, he named it “the Delaire Sunrise”.
The Constellation is, at 102.79 carats, the largest round shaped, D colour, Internally Flawless diamond ever to be graded by the Gemological Institute of America.
The Graff Pink was acquired by Graff in November 2010. A pink diamond with a type IIa classification and modified emerald cut shape, the diamond was previously held in a private collection for over 60 years. The diamond displayed 25 natural flaws. The recut 23.88 carat diamond displayed new colour, clarity and internal flawlessness.
The Graff Sweethearts were originally two rough diamonds weighing 196 carats and 184 carats discovered at the Letseng Mine in Lesotho. After cutting they produced a 51.53ct D colour Flawless type IIa and a 50.76ct D colour Flawless type IIa, both heart-shaped.
The Sultan Abdul Hamid II is a 70, 54 carat light yellow acquired by Graff in 1981. It has been suggested that this stone may have been cut from “The Ottoman I” which originally belonged to Suleyman the Magnificent of Turkey.
The Peacock Brooch
Taking the form of a peacock with a display of fanned tail feathers, this diamond brooch features a collection of coloured diamonds. A total of 120.81 carats of diamonds adorn the brooch, which measures a little over 10 cm in height.
This piece is priced at $100 million. At the heart of the brooch, sits a 20.02 carat deep blue pear shape diamond. The piece also features an additional clasp to the rear, allowing the blue diamond centerpiece to be removed and worn two ways.
It is very unfortunate to realize that the proceeds from the sale of the peace diamond (709-carat) fell well short of the Sierra Leone Government’s expectations ($70-80 M).
It is ironic to note that about $7.7 million was offered at the initial stages within the country, which was rejected only to be sold for about $6.5M in New York.
It is not only disgraceful, but it also depicts the level of ignorance in the country’s mining sector, for the government to not be able to get a valuation estimate prior to the sale. In a country with an abundance of precious minerals, is there no one in Sierra Leone competent in the valuation of diamonds? Bad, very bad.
Did the diamond not cost about $50 million American dollars? Was it not over estimated at the beginning? Quite sure it was. Thanks to the president, Sierra Leone got some money to help to pay the huge amount of debts owed by the State. I hope that money will not be used by politicians to breed their pockets. Everything will be used in the power of the president, so that the money is not used in the next general elections.