What are Canadian diamonds?
Natural diamonds are formed under incredible subterranean pressure and temperature. These carbon-based stones grow over billions of years in the Earth’s mantle, pushed closer to the surface by volcanic eruptions.
The formation of diamonds is fascinating – if wrought with misconceptions. First, they are not made from coal! And second, they are not found only on the resource-rich African continent, Russia and Australia. In fact, Canada is one of the largest diamond producers in the world. Canadian diamonds are mined according to rigorous ethical standards – and their quality is just as exceptional.
Diamonds with pure origins
While there were always there, albeit under the surface, diamond-rich regions were not discovered in Canada until the 1990s. A decade earlier, prospectors Chuck Fipke and Stewart Blusson embarked on what many thought a fool’s errand: to find diamonds in Canada.
They did, in the 1980s, but the land was not conducive to mining. However, spurred on by the hope of further discoveries, they were eventually rewarded. The Ekati Diamond Mine, in which the two still have an ownership stake, was discovered in the 1990s. Since then, it has produced more than 40 million carats of diamonds. Other massive mines have given up similar yields.
Canadian mines produce a greater percentage of high-quality diamonds when compared to other regions. This doesn’t mean every diamond is an Allnatt or the Hope Diamond, but it does indicate that, overall, quality is very good. Moreover, Canadian diamonds – like every region’s – vary in size, shape, colour and clarity. They are graded on the 4Cs (colour, clarity, cut, carat weight), and buyers should keep that in mind when looking for the right diamond. That being said, Canadian diamonds do offer exceptional value in a different way: they are guaranteed to be ‘conflict free’.
When diamond-rich areas were discovered, there was an understandable rush to stake claims. But, at the same time, federal and provincial governments proceeded with caution. They wanted to ensure that strict environmental and humanitarian regulations were implemented – and followed by companies operating on their pristine land.
Deepak Kumar, of mining company Deepak International, says, that instead of the 4Cs, his diamonds will have 6Cs. “The fifth C is for ‘conflict-free’, and the sixth C is for ‘Canadian’,” he says. This is increasingly important to consumers, who care about from where their diamonds are sourced. Environmental regulations protect the wildlife, water and residents of nearby regions.
Mines have implemented sustainable practices in their operations. Further, the country has emphasized ethical mining, in contrast to practices in regions from which ‘blood diamonds’ and ‘conflict diamonds’ come.
All diamonds mined in the Northwest Territories are laser inscribed with unique identification numbers so retailers and customers can be sure they are conflict-free. The industry is regulated by several bodies, such as the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct, CanadaMark, and the Government of the Northwest Territories. People are increasingly aware of where their diamonds, and other products, come from. Canada offers a stellar product that they can feel good about.