The Bokassa Diamond is surrounded by a truly fascinating story. In 1977, a Central African dictator named Jean-Bédel Bokassa declared himself emperor and asked Albert Jolis, the president of a diamond mining operation, for a diamond ring.
Jolis did not have the money to buy such a large stone, however, if he did not deliver one, his company would lose the mining concession in Central Africa. And so he devised a clever solution: Jolis found a large piece of black diamond bolt (a poorly crystallized diamond usually fit only to be crushed into abrasive powder) that curiously resembled Africa in shape. He ordered for the diamond to be polished and mounted on a large ring. A one-quarter carat white diamond was then set roughly where the country is located on the continent.
Jolis presented this "unique" diamond to the clueless Bokassa, who loved it. He thought that the $500 ring was worth over $500,000.