For many laymen diamonds are mainly associated with South Africa and rarely with Canada, even though the country is one of the three largest global producers of these precious stones..
Historically, the reputation of Canadian diamonds was negatively impacted by the error of Jacques Cartier, the discoverer of the Maple Leaf Country. During his third visit to Canada in 1542 he found sparkling stones in the place where now the City of Quebec is located. Cartier sent the specimens to France, but they turned out to be regular quartz
This historical curiosity generated the saying: “Faux comme un diamant du Canada” or “As false as a Canadian diamond.”
In fact, there is nothing false in diamonds mined in Canada. In less than 15 years, the country has taken its firm place in the global diamond production: in terms of value Canada is the third largest producer of diamonds after Botswana and Russia.
All the four Canadian mines (three in the Northwest Territory and one in Ontario) produced 11.1 million carats in 2011 to a value of $2.5 billion. The country’s diamond industry employs 8,000 people, having additionally generated hundreds of related operations.
The assault on Canada’s kimberlites continues to this day: their diamond potential is huge. A new mine in the Northwest Territories and a diamond enterprise are scheduled to be launched in 2015 in the province of Quebec, near the James Bay. There are also announced a number of other diamond projects in Saskatchewan and in the Nunavut Territory.
Putting these fields into operation will increase the share of Canada in global diamond production from 15% to 20%.
The average price of Canadian diamonds is high: $225 per carat, compared to $90, the world’s average. According to Louis Perron, senior adviser on diamonds to the Ministry of Natural Resources of Canada, this value depends on the number of gem quality stones, which represent the majority of Canadian goods, which account for a larger quantity compared to industrial quality diamonds.
In his opinion, this value of Canadian diamonds is also due to their “clarity, color, transparence and size.”
The Canadian soil yielded many beautiful gems. The most famous of them is the Ekati Spirit Diamond weighing 78 carats (the size of a cherry), produced by BHP Billiton’s Ekati Mine in the Northwest Territories. This stone with an exceptional transparency was sold at auction in February 2011 for more than $6 million.
In Canada, there are only four diamond cutting companies, which handle the smallest amount of gems mined in the country. Among them: Embee Diamonds from Prince Albert in the Saskatchewan Province, which is famous for its Sirius Star cut. An original diamond cut to the shape of Sirius Star 80 has in its middle an eight-pointed star; Sirius Star 100 – a star with ten rays; the American Star cut shows a five-pointed star. And now the world was presented with a Magen David Diamond Cut featuring a six-pointed star, which was released in 2012 to celebrate the Jewish religious holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
What are the advantages of Canadian diamonds? The companies that sell them guarantee that diamond mining in Canada is carried out in accordance with the rules of sustainable development, environmental protection and human rights compliance.
For its part, the Code of Conduct in the Canadian diamond industry – the body composed of miners, cutters and polishers – publishes on its website a list of retailers that guarantee the authenticity of diamonds represented as Canadian.
These stones are also easy to “track“: since the opening of the first Canadian mine in 1998 all diamonds produced in the country are given numbers (engraved on stones), which allows users to know their exact origin.