Oct 18, 2017 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

706-Carat Diamond Found & 'Lost' By Pastor In Sierra Leone

Mar 18, 2017 10:08 AM EDT

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A Christian pastor in Sierra Leone found a 706-carat diamond but unselfishly decided to give it away to the government, in hopes that it can help the development of the country. Pastor Emmanuel Momoh proved that generosity doesn't lack even in impoverished Sierra Leone after he gave the hockey puck-sized diamond. The government plans to auction the uncut diamond.

Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma thanked Momoh for his generosity. He also said that had it been other fortune-seekers, the diamond might have already been smuggled out of the country. At any rate, Koroma said that they intend to give the pastor "what is due to him" after they sold the diamond.

According to BBC, pastor Momoh's diamond is the largest diamond discovery since 1972 when a 969-carat Star of Sierra Leone was found. According to experts, the latest gem from the diamond-rich country is possibly the 13th largest diamond ever found. While it is difficult to assess the value of Momoh's diamond, it can be compared to the one sold by the mining firm Lucara. The 813-carat Lucara diamond sold for $63 million at auction.

Meanwhile, diamond analyst Mathew Nyaungwa said that Momoh's diamond may well play around similar price if it is pure. Diamonds are assessed not by weight nor size but it is the quality that matters, Daily Wire reported. Momoh's diamond has not been tested.

Sierra Leone has huge diamond deposits and it is common for its locals to simply dug few feet deep and find diamonds. According to former artisanal miner Umaru Fofana, diamond deposits were sometimes so close to the surface that even heavy rains can loosen tiny gemstones. These gems were up for anyone to pick after the downpour.

Fofana described an incident when he worked against his employer's regular shift and found a 2-carat diamond. He fled before the security guards could discover his gem. Subsequently, Fofana sold the diamond and used his proceeds to fund his university schooling.

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