Would you reject 2.5 billion Naira for a precious metal the size of an egg?

Well, that was exactly what the government of Sierra Leone did.

The government rejected a $7.8 million bid, about 2.5 billion Naira for a rough, egg-sized diamond stone, one of the biggest ever found, saying it failed to meet its own valuation.

The 709-carat gem is the second largest ever discovered in the country and was unearthed in March in the eastern Kono region by a Christian pastor who gave it to the government to handle the sale.

Five bids were handed to auctioneers in a sealed brown envelope, ranging from $2 million to $7.8 million. The top bid was made by a man in some white shirt and light trousers on behalf of Belgium diamond dealer, Ray Diam BVBA.

“We’ve decided not to sell the diamond today because the highest bid price … does not match the government reserve price,” Sahr Wonday, chief auctioneer and head of the National Minerals Agency, told a packed room.

The government now hopes to get more for the stone at an international auction in either Antwerp, Belgium or Tel Aviv in Israel, Wonday said, without giving further details.

Thank God that this diamond is not the ‘bloody’ type that had killed thousands in the mineral-rich country.

Diamonds fueled a decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone that ended in 2002 and killed 50,000 people.

Rebels forced civilians in the east to mine the stones and bought weapons with the proceeds, leading to the term “blood diamonds”.