Giant solid auction fails as Sierra Leone rejects offer

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FREETOWN A most expected auction for one of a world’s largest diamonds fizzled on Thursday when a supervision of Sierra Leone deserted a $7.8 million bid for a rough, egg-sized stone, observant it unsuccessful to accommodate a possess valuation.

The 709-carat gem is a second largest ever detected in a West African nation and was unearthed in Mar in a eastern Kono segment by a Christian priest who gave it to a supervision to hoop a sale.

Five bids were handed to auctioneers in a hermetic brownish-red envelope, trimming from $2 million to $7.8 million. The tip bid was done by a male in a white shirt and light trousers on interest of Belgium solid play Ray Diam BVBA.

“We’ve motionless not to sell a solid currently since a top bid cost … does not compare a supervision haven price,” Sahr Wonday, arch auctioneer and conduct of a National Minerals Agency, told a packaged room.

The supervision now hopes to get some-more for a mill during an general auction in possibly Antwerp, Belgium or Tel Aviv in Israel, Wonday said, but giving serve detail.

Diamonds fueled a decade-long polite fight in Sierra Leone that finished in 2002 and killed 50,000 people. Rebels forced civilians in a easterly to cave a stones and bought weapons with a proceeds, heading to a tenure “blood diamonds”.

The United Nations carried a anathema on solid exports from Sierra Leone in 2003, yet a $113 million zone is tormented by smuggling.

The solid adult for auction on Thursday is a second largest ever found in Sierra Leone after a 968.9-carat Star of Sierra Leone that was found by miners in 1972.

Other African gems are even larger, including a 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, that was found in South Africa in 1905. It was cut into several discriminating gems, a largest of that are partial of Britain’s climax jewels.

Emmanuel Momoh, a priest who found a new solid in March, was happy to wait for another auction.

“I was unfortunate with a top bid price,” pronounced Momoh. His stone, he said, “is value a lot some-more than $7.8 million.”

(Story corrects second divide to uncover solid is 709-carat, not 706.)

(Reporting by Umaru Fofana, essay by Edward McAllister, modifying by David Evans)

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