NEW YORK-A huge so-called “peace diamond” sold by the government of Sierra Leone to discourage crime-tainted “blood diamonds” fetched $6.5 million on Monday.

The 709-carat stone, which was unearthed in March, is the largest discovered in Sierra Leone in almost a half-century and is between the 10th and 15th largest ever found worldwide, experts say. Found by a company led by evangelical Pastor Momoh, the diamond was given to the government in the hopes it would handle the sale in a way that leaves more profits and development potential in Sierra Leone . British jewelers Laurence Graff purchased the stone, according to Martin Rapaport, whose group hosted the auction. The government was expecting about $7 million. “Perhaps we’re dealing with the price of transparency,” Rapaport said. Illegal mining and sales of so-called blood diamonds have been a major source of strife in many African countries including Sierra Leone . That was the goal of the auction approach of President Ernest Bai Koroma. Expectations at home were high, yet the price may have seemed a disappointment.

Gibril Sesay, a market seller, said he wanted the government to provide “water, electricity and good roads for the people” with the proceeds of the gem following the sale.

But Beatrice Cole, a civil servant, told AFP “the money paid for the diamond was far below what we expected” after watching the auction live on TV in Freetown.