One of the poorest countries in the world has discovered one of the most valuable gems in history.
A premium diamond estimated to be worth $6.2 million was unearthed in Kono, Sierra Leone last week. Measuring 153.44 carats, it trumps the one found last year, which measured at 125 carats.
According to Sierra Leone’s National Minerals Agency, the diamond is one of the finest to be unearthed in their country in the last decade. The diamond has almost no yellow tint, which earned it a D+ grade on the D-to-Z color scale. The yellowish tint of a diamond is caused by nitrogen impurities, which means that last week’s find is of extremely high quality.
The agency added that in terms of price, the diamond could only be matched by fancy pink or blue diamonds. The diamond’s clarity and color make it a stone of the finest class, and had the diamond been in the shape of an octahedron, it would easily have become worth twice its value.
Aside from diamonds, Sierra Leone is rich in other mineral resources, including titanium ore, bauxite, magnetite iron ore, and gold. The export of these minerals is the country’s major source of income. Monitoring the export of the stones is difficult, and some of the diamonds are smuggled.
Sierra Leone is infamous for the selling of so-called “blood diamonds” by rebel leaders to multinational companies in order to buy weapons during the civil war, which ended in 2002. The country has since attracted substantial investments from foreign companies, but it remains one of the most poverty-stricken in the world.
The country is striving to manage its resources on the road to recovery, but much of Sierra Leone’s economic revival will depend on the government’s efforts to end, or at least limit, the corruption by many of its officials. Many believe that corruption in the government caused the civil war in the first place.
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