Rapaport Magazine

The Peace Diamond challenge

The Peace Diamond makes the world a better place. It is an opportunity for our industry to focus on what is good with diamonds.

By Martin Rapaport

   The Peace Diamond is a 709.48-carat rough diamond discovered on March 13 by impoverished artisanal diggers in Koryardu, Sierra Leone. It is the 14th-largest diamond ever found. At the request of the Sierra Leone government, the Rapaport Group is marketing and auctioning the diamond in New York on December 4, 2017, free of charge.
   Koryardu is one of the poorest places on earth. Sometimes there is insufficient food. There is no infrastructure. No clean water, electricity, medical care or school. No bridges or roads. No jobs.
   But Koryardu has good, honest people. Those who found the diamond refused to sell it for cash and let it be smuggled out of the country. They insisted on turning the diamond over to the government to sell for them. They trust the government to get them a fair market price and to use the tax revenue from the diamond to provide vital infrastructure for their community and other communities in need across Sierra Leone. Taxes from the sale of the Peace Diamond will be paid to the government: a 15% royalty from the total sale price and another 30% income tax.
   The diggers have put their trust in the government to do the right thing. Such trust is the basis for peace in Sierra Leone. All eyes are on the Peace Diamond. What will become of the diamond and the wealth it creates? They will not disappear as other diamonds have in the past.
   The first challenge is for the government of Sierra Leone to allocate a reasonable share of its revenue from the Peace Diamond to benefit artisanal mining areas. This will create more trust and encourage more diggers to sell their diamonds through official channels, resulting in increased government revenue and building of infrastructure. This Peace Diamond is an opportunity to legitimize Sierra Leone’s diamond sector with formal channels of sale, distribution and taxation.
   Sierra Leone has many desperate needs for funds. Government revenue must be shared with non-artisanal sectors. However, the opportunity to create a positive economic cycle of activity in the artisanal field should not be ignored. A reasonable allocation of the revenue from the Peace Diamond to the artisanal sector will bootstrap economic growth as it increases trust in government.
   The Peace Diamond will bring money to Koryardu and the Kono district. It will bring grassroots microeconomic prosperity, increasing jobs and opportunity for some of the poorest people in the world. It will create a better life for tens of thousands.
   The second Peace Diamond challenge is for the diamond and jewelry industry. The Rapaport Group challenges the diamond industry to transcend the commodity approach of selling diamonds based solely on their physical characteristics. There is more to diamonds than the 4Cs. The solution to low-profit commoditization is straightforward. The diamond industry must create “emotional value” for diamonds.
   The big idea behind the Peace Diamond is that “a diamond that makes the world a better place” has more value. It has positive energy because it has caused good things to happen. The challenge for the diamond trade is to create value by marketing and selling the positive impact that good diamonds bring to the world around them. It is time for us to sell the story behind the diamond — not just the diamond.
   Let’s create value by creating ideas that differentiate our diamonds and enable them to communicate high-level emotions. Let’s make our diamonds more special and more beautiful because of the good they have done. The challenge is to imbue our diamonds with emotional value that makes people feel very good about them. Creating, marketing and selling such emotional value is my challenge to the diamond industry.
   So as to move things along, we are offering $5,000 to whoever comes up with the best short video under 2.5 minutes that creates socially responsible emotional value for diamonds. There will be two deadlines and two $5,000 offers: the first deadline on November 15, 2017, the second deadline on December 18, 2017. The emphasis should be “diamonds that make the world a better place.” For submissions, email PeaceDiamond@diamonds.net.
   Regarding our auction of the 709-carat Sierra Leone Peace Diamond on December 4, 2017, we ask our readers to use their social media connections to tell the story and communicate the idea of Peace Diamonds that make the world a better place.
   Images, videos and stories about the Peace Diamond are available on our public folder on Google Drive at https://goo.gl/Ky8Q2n and on the PeaceDiamond.com website. Contact us at PeaceDiamond@diamonds.net for more information. Your ideas and suggestions are most welcome.
   The Peace Diamond is an opportunity for our industry to focus on what is good about diamonds and the diamond trade. Let’s work together and make the world a better place.
   Here’s how to stay in touch: Martin Rapaport on Facebook and LinkedIn, @martinrapaport on Twitter, and #martinrapaport on Instagram.

Image: Rapaport - Pastor Emmanuel Momoh and Chief Paul Ngaba Saquee stand with Martin and Ezi Rapaport while visiting the Rapaport Group office in Israel.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - November 2017. To subscribe click here.

Comment Comment Email Email Print Print Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Share Share