A diamond from the Northwest Territories that is a cut above the rest
The Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories has serious bragging rights for producing the biggest and brightest.
In October 2018, the largest diamond ever found in North America was unearthed at the Diavik mine; a 552-carat gemstone roughly the size of a chicken egg that would make even the rich and famous feel like they’ve won the lottery.
Dominion Diamonds Executive Vice-President, Jim Pounds, said he was stunned when the company made the spectacular find.
“I realized that this was a very, very significant stone,” Pounds says.
“Canadian diamonds are usually known for their white colour and high quality, so to see a beautiful yellow stone of this size was truly astounding.”
It’s remarkable that the gemstone emerged intact despite evidence from abrasions on its surface of a “difficult journey” up from the mine and through a mechanical screening process.
The next step for the big diamond is to find the right specialist who can cut and polish it to perfection; something that takes a steady hand and great deal of experience and expertise. So far, Dominion has identified only four “master cutters” in the world who could take on the task.
To put the potential of the giant gem into perceptive, a polished 37.87 carat and a 36.80 carat diamond, both brilliant-cut and pear shaped, were both auctioned for a combined $1.3 million U.S.
The 552-carat gem is roughly three times the size of the next-largest diamond found in Canada, a 187.7-carat beauty that was uncovered at the Diavik mine in 2015.
The Diavik mine is owned by Dominion Diamond Mines (Dominion) and the Rio Tinto Group. Dominion also owns and operates the nearby Ekati Diamond Mine. Both mines are located approximately 200 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle.
The discovery proves that the Northern Lights aren’t the only phenomenon that shine bright in Canada’s North.
In fact, the Northwest Territories’ sparkling diamonds are well-known around the world. Their quality, colour and texture tell of an extraordinary journey through time, from deep volcanic eruptions billions of years ago, to a polished engagement ring that symbolizes everlasting love.
Dominion maintains the Canadamark™ program, which allows consumers to track the journey of their diamonds from one of Dominion’s mines all the way to the time of purchase.
Pounds says Dominion exports most of its stones to India, a country that has expertise in cutting and polishing. In total, the company employs or contracts 1,700 people in the Northwest Territories (at the Ekati mine), and in its offices in Calgary, Yellowknife, Antwerp, and Mumbai.
This discovery is a great story for Canada.
Dominion is the world’s fourth largest producer of rough diamonds, selling its product to a global market.
The free trade agreements Canada has negotiated around the world make it easier for companies like Dominion to export to international markets.
“We are working with the Canadian government to make sure the trade links are as worry-free as possible,” Pounds says.
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