For thousands of years, diamonds lay undiscovered deep within the tundra of the Canadian Arctic. It wasn't until the early 1990s that diamond mining began in the Ekati mine located in the Northwest Territories, spawning the opening of several rich diamond mines. Today, the Canadian diamond output is responsible for approximately 15% of the world's supply of rough diamonds.
Each of the exquisite Canadian diamonds we offer at Brilliance can be traced back to the region of its origin, and adheres to the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct. Widely respected throughout the industry, this code serves as a certification of authentication, validated by official records and warranties.
With their remarkable gem-quality properties and traceable origins, Canadian diamonds have become widely demanded.
Canadian diamonds are guaranteed to come from conflict-free sources and are harvested in a responsible, legitimate manner. The country's diamond mining industry adheres to a strict policy of ethical operations and environmental preservation.
Canada is committed to programs that further the sustainable development of its natural resources including diamonds. The preservation of land and aquatic habitats during diamond mining activities is supported by the Canada Mining Regulations (CMR) issued for the Northwest Territories, as well as independent efforts made by the individual mines.
Canada's diamond output yields a significantly higher ratio of pristine, gem-quality deposits when compared to the output of other countries. Distinguished by a high grade of color and clarity and a low level of fluorescence, a Canadian diamond is a rare find and is given a high value in the jewelry market.
As recently as two decades ago, Canada wasn't considered a likely source of diamonds. A small degree of prospecting had taken place in the 1960s, but the results weren't particularly encouraging. With a single mining expedition in 1991, however, all of that changed. In the northern portion of the country-the Lac de Gras area, to be exact-a substantial amount of diamond-bearing mineral deposits were discovered.
Just six months after the launch of Canada's first official mining company in 1998, one million carats of diamonds were unearthed. By 2003, just five years after mining began, the country had become the third largest producer of diamonds in the world.
In a relatively short period of time, the booming Canadian diamond mining industry has turned the country into one of the world's most prominent producers of rough diamond deposits. It's been predicted that when the Northwest Territories region reaches its full production capacity, Canada could be responsible for the mining of a large percentage of the world's diamond supply.
The Northwest Territories, home to the majority of Canada's diamond mines, spans twice as much land area as the state of Texas, but has only 570 miles of paved road. Its formidable terrain makes road travel to the mines virtually impossible and requires mining supplies to be flown in by plane. In the winter months, frozen lakes and marshes form temporary ice roads that allow for limited travel. Despite these treacherous conditions, Canada's mines produce some of the most sought-after diamonds in the world.
Select a Canadian diamond mine below to learn more about its characteristics and history.
The first diamond mine to begin operations in Canada, Ekati commenced excavations in October of 1998. Operated by BHP Billiton Diamonds, the mine is located northeast of Yellowknife in a region that remains virtually frozen year-round.
The mining operations at Ekati never cease-excavating, cleansing, and separating are round-the-clock activities performed by 800 full-time employees and 700 additional contractors. After the diamonds are isolated from the other mined ores, they're sent to a remote processing plant to be cleaned, sized, and appraised, and then routed to sales facilities to be placed on the commercial market.
For the past two years, Ekati has produced approximately 7 million carats of high-quality diamond deposits, equating to 3% of worldwide revenue from rough diamond sales.
The Diavik mine is situated on a small island, called East Island, in Lac de Gras near Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories. Co-owned by Harry Winston Diamond Corporation and Diavik Diamond Mines, Inc., the site began operations in January of 2003, and mining is expected to continue as late as 2025.
More than 700 workers are employed at Diavik. Each year, the mine produces approximately 10 million carats of diamond deposits and grosses $100 million in revenue. In addition to high-quality diamond deposits, Diavik has yielded notable quantities of such precious metals as gold, copper, zinc, and nickel.
In August of 2006, the Jericho Diamond Mine was officially opened for operations. Located in the Nunavut region of Canada, Jericho lies approximately 250 miles from Yellowknife. Owned by the Tahera Diamond Corporation, the mine received a considerable amount of construction funding from Tiffany & Company. Jericho produces approximately 375,000 carats of diamond deposits annually, equating to $25 million in revenue.
Jericho has produced several significant diamond deposits, including a 56-carat gemstone and three diamonds that each measured more than 100 carats.
Due to the remoteness of the wintry site, plans are underway to construct a port with connecting roads to the Ekati and Diavik mines for increased accessibility to Jericho.
In the fall of 2007, the Snap Lake diamond mine commenced operations. Owned by the Canadian division of De Beers, the mine is located northeast of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. The mine is distinguished by the unique shape of its kimberlite deposits: while the other major mines have long, pipe-like deposits, Snap Lake's are of a dyke formation.
Approximately 500 employees assist with excavation and processing tasks at Snap Lake. Each year, nearly 1.5 million carats of precious gemstones are unearthed at this location.
The first diamond mine to be erected in Ontario, Victor was officially opened for production in the spring of 2008. Although the volume of its usable output is not as robust as the major mines in the Northwest Territories, the quality of the diamonds harvested at Victor is unrivaled. These exceptional stones have commanded upwards of $400 per carat on the rough diamond market.
The mine is expected to yield approximately 600,000 carats per year during its projected 12-year span of operations. More than 375 full-time employees assist with mining and processing tasks at Victor.