706-carat diamond discovered by pastor in Sierra Leone

Pastor Emmanuel Momoh found a 706-carat diamond but made a decision to give it to authorities to help development in the West African country.

The diamond has not been valued yet, but it was taken to one of Sierra Leone's largest banks to be kept secure on Wednesday.

Pastor Emmanuel A Momoh is one of thousands of people who hunt for diamonds in Sierra Leone.

The president thanked the chief of the Tankoro area where the stone was found for not smuggling it out of the country.

Momah told The Associated Press that he turned the diamond in, rather than smuggling it, because "I believe the government can do more, especially at a time when the country is undergoing some economic challenges".

Here is a list of the top ten largest diamonds ever found.

Sierra Leone's diamond mines have helped fuel a civil war that ended fifteen years ago but the country remains one of the poorest in the world. The stone was presented on Thursday and will be sold in a government-held transparent auction in the Sierra Leone to benefit the community.

Zimnisky said the stone would likely be sold outside Sierra Leone, despite the government's assertion, for better access to buyers.

It's easy to be cynical about the situation, and the fate of the proceeds gleaned from the diamond, but there may be reason for optimism. It's surpassed in size only by the 3,106-carat "Cullinan Diamond" found in 1905 in South Africa. Sierra Leone's gross national income per capita stood at $620 in 2015, according to World Bank data.

A gem analyst from the United States stated that an artisan miner finding such a large diamond working with his bare hands and a few basic tools is highly unusual.

  • Gina Adkins