Are Canadian Diamonds worth the extra money? And why are diamonds from Canada so expensive?

“I’m looking for a diamond that maximizes sparkle and fire. Want it to be relatively colorless and very clean to naked eye. Looking for a Canadian ICE diamond as well.. but not entirely sure if necessary. Budget .. want to spend as little as possible but for diamond + ring ~6000 and would be happy if I could get in for 4 or 5 thousand or even less. Thanks! R.J.”

Blue Nile offers Canadian diamonds and James Allen offers CanadaMark diamonds, however the extent of the inventory is rather limited, especially in ideal cut diamonds and those that meet my selection criteria . Be forewarned that diamonds from Canada tend to cost more because of tariffs charged by the Canadian government and costs related to branding Canadian diamonds.

Blue Nile Canadian Diamonds Review:

Search Blue Nile for Conflict Free Diamonds from Canada, Maple Leaf DiamondsBlue Nile offers a limited quantity of conflict free diamonds from Canada, which are sometimes inscribed with the Canadian Maple Leaf Diamond brand icon on the girdle edge, as will be indicated on the diamond grading report under the heading of laser inscription. I used the option to Search for Canadian Diamonds on Blue Nile within the range of 0.50 to 5.00 carats, D to J color and SI-1 to VS-1 in clarity, with a cut rating of Ideal to Blue Nile Signature Ideal and a polish and symmetry rating of GIA Excellent or AGS Ideal, with a total depth between 59 – 61.8% and a table diameter between 53 – 59% and Blue Nile provided me with three Canadian diamonds to choose from.

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Now if you happen to be familiar with my preferred selection criteria which is outlined in the article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success, you might realize that a table diameter of 59% is beyond my preferred range of 53 – 58% however there were no options available in Canadian Diamonds from Blue Nile within that range, so I had to expand things slightly in order to provide you with some options to consider.

Blue Nile Canadian Diamond Review, GIA 6137400880Of the three Canadian diamonds which Blue Nile currently has available within the range of characteristics specified above, the only one that peaks my interest is this 0.90 carat, J-color, SI-1 clarity, Canadian Diamond from Blue Nile which is graded by the GIA with an overall cut grade of Excellent with a total depth of 60.6% and a table diameter of 59% with a crown angle of 34.5 degrees that is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.6 degrees with a slightly thick, faceted girdle and no culet. While the table diameter is one percent beyond where I’d like to see it, the crown angle and pavilion angle offset are great and I have no doubt that this diamond will be a firecracker!

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The Problem with Canadian Diamonds from Blue Nile:

What I don’t like about the Canadian diamonds which Blue Nile presented as options for this particular search is that none of them bore the Canadian Maple Leaf Diamonds inscription that usually appears on the Canadian Diamonds offered by Blue Nile… so there is no way to verify that the origin of the diamond rough these diamonds were created from is actually from Canada:

Note that the other two options from Blue Nile referenced above have proportions which are well beyond my preferred range and thus they do not meet my selection criteria. Links are provided so that you may view the diamond grading reports and see that the reference to the inscription provided on the GIA diamond grading reports do not include an inscription of the Canadian Diamonds Maple Leaf logo, the only indication that these diamonds are from Canada is that they appear in the search results for Canadian Diamonds on Blue Nile.

The High Price of Canadian Diamonds:

Blue Nile Diamond Reviews, 0.904 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, AGSL 104066808001All right, so the 0.90 carat, J-color, SI-1 clarity, Canadian Diamond from Blue Nile which is of interest to me is currently selling for $4,625.00 but why the heck would I purchase that “Canadian Diamond” when I could purchase this 0.904 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from Blue Nile which is selling for about three hundred dollars less? This is a much better diamond for the money, not only is it two color grades better and cut to a tighter range of proportions which does fit within my preferred range, but it is also graded by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) on their proprietary Light Performance grading platform which relies on Angular Spectrum Evaluation Technology (ASET) to measure the brightness of the diamond! That little red, blue and green graphic in the middle of the report reveals a lot about this diamond.

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So what makes the Canadian Diamond from Blue Nile so much more expensive than the ideal cut diamond of unknown origin? It’s a combination of tariffs and taxes that are added to the cost of Canadian diamond rough by the Canadian government, and additional profits that are added to the stone for the sake of being able to assure you that it’s a conflict free diamond… even if it’s not actually inscribed with the Canadian Maple Leaf Diamonds logo!

The Social Impact of Canadian Diamonds:

I have to say that as a diamond buyer with almost 30 years experience, I don’t really see any difference in terms of the social or global impact between diamonds produced from Canadian diamond rough that is mined from Canada or any other country which actively participates in the Kimberley Diamond Act of 2003.

Companies which actively market diamonds from Canada make a pretty big deal about the diamonds being from Canada and how they’re “conflict free” and not “blood diamonds” but the fact is that every diamond cutter and diamond vendor I know religiously adheres to the conditions of the Kimberley Diamond Act of 2003, not only because they are intent on operating their business in a legal and ethical manner, but also because none of them would intentionally deal in blood diamonds.

By the way, the term “blood diamonds” stems from a small percentage of diamonds which were being smuggled out of Africa during the Sierra Leone Civil War which lasted from 1991 – 2002. Guerrilla forces which were fighting in the region were reportedly forcing inhabitants of the region to mine diamonds under slave-like conditions and then would try to sell the diamonds to  fund their activities… while legitimate members of the diamond industry worked to restrict the flow of these diamonds to the market by creating legislation like the Kimberley Diamond Act of 2003, the Blood Diamonds movie which was released in 2006 made it appear like “blood diamonds” were a rampant problem throughout the industry.

Public interest and in some cases outrage, created by the emotions stirred by the Blood Diamonds movie, makes “conflict free diamonds” from Canada seem like the best option for people who want a diamond engagement ring, but want to ensure that their purchase is not contributing to the oppression or harm of other human beings… but I feel that the people who market Canadian diamonds are taking advantage of people’s emotions by painting a picture of the diamond industry which is not accurate, especially when the civil war in the Sierra Leone has been over for more than eleven years.

Are Diamonds from Canada actually Conflict Free?

While it might seem like diamonds from Canada are a conflict free option, there is a rip tide lying just beneath the surface of the water that results from battles between the Aboriginal Tribes of Canada and the entities which stand to profit from mining diamonds in Canada.

An article published by Mining Watch Canada states: There are no clean diamonds. Exploring for them, digging them out of the ground and selling them requires sacrifices from the natural environment, from the wildlife and fish that live on it, and from the Aboriginal people who depend on it.

It goes on to say that “… in Sierra Leone, other factors have come together to stop the war, and the diamonds produced there are still an important source of income for many of its citizens. The Network Movement for Justice and Development’s Campaign for Just Mining in Sierra Leone does not want to see diamond mining stopped; they want justice, human rights and environmental protection for miners.

And I couldn’t agree more… the fact of the matter is that for many people who live in the Sierra Leone region of West Africa and other diamond mining countries like Namibia and Botswana, working for the diamond mining companies enables them to provide for their families.

The majority of vendors which I work with sell diamonds which are produced from diamond rough that is sourced from Russia, Botswana, Namibia and the Sierra Leone region of West Africa, these countries are well known for their diamond production and all of them export diamonds under the provisions set forth by the Kimberley Diamond Act which requires a certificate of origin for every piece of diamond rough to ensure that it originates from a legitimate diamond mining operation.

From my perspective a diamond is a diamond, regardless of where it originates from… the only reason why I would pay more for a Canadian diamond is if I were Canadian or my girlfriend was Canadian, or I wanted a Canadian diamond to commemorate a trip to Canada or something like that… As far as it being “conflict free” or not being a “blood diamond” I think it is nothing more than marketing hype at this point in time.

And in the case of “Canadian Diamonds” which aren’t even inscribed with a logo or reference number that coincides with some sort of proof that the diamond is actually Canadian, as in the case of the 0.90 carat, J-color, SI-1 clarity, Canadian Diamond from Blue Nile referenced above, I don’t even see the point… Because there are options like the 0.904 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from Blue Nile which are better cut and more affordable.

Speaking of other options… there is a 0.802 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity Diamond listed with High Performance Diamonds (HPD) and a 0.913 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond that really peak my interest… both diamonds are cut within my preferred range of proportions, have an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0, exhibit crisp and complete patterns of hearts and arrows and look exceptional in all of the reflector scope images that I rely on to judge the overall diamond cut quality ~ which is something that Blue Nile does not provide on their diamond details pages.

Now if you want something will a little less color, I’d go with this 0.810 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond or this 0.740 carat, F-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin round ideal cut diamond which exhibits strong blue fluorescence. I’m a big fan of diamonds which exhibit blue fluorescence, so this one is particularly tempting to me!

Todd Gray
Todd Gray is a professional diamond buyer with 30+ years of trade experience. He loves to teach people how to buy diamonds that exhibit incredible light performance! In addition to writing for Nice Ice, Todd "ghost writes" blogs and educational content for other diamond sites. When Todd isn't chained to a desk, or consulting for the trade, he enjoys Freediving! (that's like scuba diving, but without air tanks)
Todd Gray

@NiceIceDiamonds

Professional diamond buyer with 30+ years trade experience in the niche of super ideal cut diamonds. In my free time, I enjoy freediving & photography.
The incredible #story behind the Sirisha diamond necklace by @BrianGavin 71 #Diamonds cut to order #Amazinghttps://t.co/dHOo1T99xT - 2 years ago

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6 comments
Mawande says June 29, 2016

Really good information, but the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea on the north, Liberia in the south-east, and the Atlantic Ocean in the south-west. Its is roughly 9000 km north of South Africa.

Reply
    Todd Gray says June 29, 2016

    Hello Mawande, thank you so much for helping me to improve this article by clarifying that the Sierra Leone is in West Africa and not South Africa! It made me chuckle that the two regions of Africa are 9000 km apart from each other! Obviously I’m experienced in diamonds, and lousy at geography! All the best…

    — Todd

    Reply
Wyola says June 27, 2015

Hello thrre,

Thank you for this site with great info. Info is very positive, but I’d like to add a tiny , but useful to some. The higher that we all to pay for the Canadian Ice is not so much about the the transport cost, but because it is Government operate/regulates therefor, everyone involves are paid with a fair price. And it is mine in the NE. Territory of Canada, and at a very minimal disturbance to nature. Also, Canadian Ice diamond known to be set in only north America gold if the origin of Canadian’s.

Reply
RJ says January 26, 2014

Great article Todd & thanks so much for your help. My friend who’s also looking for an engagement ring liked this diamond you posted in the article and was taking a look at it..
0.904 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from Blue Nile..
How can you be sure and how can he be sure that the SI-1 clarity rating on this diamond won’t cause any issues and it’ll be eye clean?
Thx,
-RJ

Reply
    Todd Gray says January 26, 2014

    Thanks RJ, I’m glad that the 0.904 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from Blue Nile is of interest to your friend… the odds are that it is eye clean, but I’d recommend asking the Gemologist at Blue Nile to arrange to bring the diamond in for physical evaluation and take a look at it to be sure. Be sure to have your friend contact me via email prior to ordering the diamond because I have a coupon code that will save him a little bit of money on it.

    Reply
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