Canadian Diamonds Spotlight 2021 Is the Premium Worth It?

  • Home
  • /
  • Canadian Diamonds Spotlight 2021 Is the Premium Worth It?
Blue Nile Diamonds Canada

Blue Nile Makes It Easy to Buy Diamonds in Canada.

Canadian Diamonds originate from diamond rough mined from Canada. If you are shopping for a Canadian diamond engagement ring, you're likely to notice that diamonds from Canada are more expensive than diamonds from other countries.

Simultaneously, manufacturers in countries like India polish the majority of "Canadian Diamonds" because the labor rate is less expensive than it would be in Canada.

So what is all the hype about Canadian Diamonds? Other than the fact that the rough originates from Canada, it's not any different. Be that as it may, you'll pay a hefty premium for a Canadian Diamond. Consequently, I don't think there is any value to their unique selling proposition.

Common Questions About Canadian Diamonds:

Canadian Diamonds Mined Canada

Blue Nile Diamonds Ships to Canada.

The best time to discover more about diamonds from Canada is before you buy. That's because knowing more about Canadian Diamonds will enable you to make an informed decision.

With that in mind, you'll be a virtual expert on the subject of Canadian Diamonds by the time you finish reading this article. Of course, if you're looking for the best place to buy diamonds in Canada, you should start with Blue Nile.

The fact that they maintain a presence in Canada makes it extremely easy for them to navigate the import and excise process. Although that may be true, all of the well-known diamond dealers online ship to Canada regularly.

Once you know the answer to those questions, you'll be able to go on Jeopardy and make Alex Trebek proudConsequently, if you dig deep enough, there is more than one joke in that sentence.

Where Do Canadian Diamonds Come From?

Frieder Lauer Engagement Rings via Brian Gavin.

Brian Gavin Diamonds Ships to Canada.

It always cracks me up when somebody asks, "Where do Canadian Diamonds come from?" because the answer seems obvious:

Canadian Diamonds come from Canada.

The seemingly obvious answer to the next question is that Canadian diamonds come from the ground.

Here might be a good time to mention that my grandmother says that I can be rather impertinent. That was before she read the History of Diamonds and the stuff I said about Canada. Consequently, I write most of this stuff just to ruffle the feathers of the Canadian Geese Expats here in Mexico who I call friends.

Where Are Canadian Diamonds Mined?

Deep, Deep, Under Frozen Ground (which is also known as permafrost).
This picture shows the Ice Road that leads to the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada.

Our neighbors to the north pull about 9± million carats of Canadian diamonds out of the tundra per annum diamonds.

What Diamond Mining Companies Operate in Canada? 

Blue Nile Diamonds Ships to Canada.

Blue Nile Diamonds Ships to Canada.

The two most significant diamond mines operating in Canada are the Diavik Diamond Mine and the Ekati Diamond Mine.

The Diavik Diamond Mine is in the Yellowknife, Northwest Territories of Canada. The operation is owned in part by the Rio Tinto Mining Group and by Aber Diamond Mines Ltd.

The Ekati Diamond Mine is also in the Yellowknife region of the Northwest Territories of Canada. It is owned and operated in part by the BHP Billiton Mining Group and geologists Charles E. Fipke and Dr. Stewart E. Blusson (10% each).

Canada is also home to numerous other diamond mining projects, including those operated by De Beers, Shore Gold, Tahera, Stornoway (Ashton and Contact), Dianor, Vaaldiam, Southern Era, and more than a dozen smaller companies.

Are Canadian Diamonds Better than Standard Diamonds?

There is nothing to suggest that diamonds mined in Canada are any better than diamonds mined elsewhere. The only thing that dictates whether a diamond is superior to another is the degree of diamond cut quality, which consists of the following:

  • The Degree of Optical Precision.
  • Polish.
  • Proportions.
  • Symmetry.
James Allen Cathedral Cross Pave Setting.

James Allen Ships Diamonds to Canada.

There is nothing to suggest that diamonds mined in Canada are any better than diamonds mined elsewhere. The only thing that dictates whether a diamond is superior to another is the degree of diamond cut quality, which consists of the following:

The degree of optical precision and the diamond proportions will significantly affect light performance and sparkle factor. Be sure to adhere to my preferred range of proportions to maximize light return.

The gemological laboratories do not take optical precision into account as part of the overall cut grade. We use ASET Scope, Ideal Scope, and Hearts & Arrows Scope images to evaluate optical precision.

Black by Brian Gavin vs. Blue Nile Canadamark Diamond:

Both of the "ideal cut diamonds" that appear below have proportions within my preferred range. The pavilion angle is 40.8 degrees for both diamonds.

The Black by Brian Gavin Diamond has a crown angle of 34.6 degrees. The Canadamark Diamond from Blue Nile has a crown angle of 34.5 degrees.

The primary difference between the two diamonds is the degree of optical precision, which can affect diamond prices by as much as sixty percent.

Diamond clarity photographs like these enable us to see how evenly light is reflecting throughout the diamonds to some extent. However, it would be best not to use them for comparison purposes. After all, differences in lighting conditions and photography can affect our perception of color and sparkle factor. These are diamond clarity images and should be used only for that purpose.

The Black by Brian Gavin Diamond's ASET Scope image on the left verifies that light is reflecting evenly throughout the diamond. While the semi-transparent sections visible under the table facet in the ASET Scope image for the Blue Nile Canadamark diamond on the right indicate light leakage. Also, notice the green (secondary brightness) visible along the outer edge.

The Ideal Scope image for the Black by Brian Gavin Diamond on the left indicates a high volume of light return with virtually no light leakage. Notice the even distribution of hue and saturation and how evenly light is reflecting throughout the diamond. There is no Ideal Scope image available for the Canadamark diamond, but the ASET Scope shows its leaking light.

The hearts' pattern exhibited by the Black by Brian Gavin Diamond is more uniform in size and shape than the Canadamark diamond on the right. That means that the Black by Brian Gavin Diamond exhibits a higher degree of optical precision. In that case, it will produce a sparkle factor that is even more vivid and intense. It takes about 4X longer to polish diamonds to this level of perfection.

GIA Report for the Blue Nile Canadamark Diamond:

Take a good look at the GIA's diamond grading report for the Canadamark Diamond from Blue Nile.

Why is the diamond not indicated as being Canadamark on the diamond grading report issued by the GIA?

Why is this "Canadamark Diamond" not inscribed with the Canadamark logo?

This supplier statement is the only indication that it's Canadamark:

Why is this Canadamark Diamond not Inscribed or Branded?

Petite Cathedral Setting from Blue Nile.

Blue Nile Ships Diamonds to Canada.

It is essential to recognize that this 1.05 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond on Blue Nile is not listed as a Canadamark or Canadian diamond on their site.

We know that it's a Canadamark diamond because the cutter indicates that as the brand within the listing details on the MLS used by the trade to market diamonds globally.

In other words, we only have the cutter's assertion that it's from diamond rough sourced from Canada and that it's a Canadamark diamond. Unlike the Black by Brian Gavin Diamond, which features Brian Gavin's logo.

Where are Canadian Diamonds Cut?

Several diamond cutting companies purchase diamond rough from the Rio Tinto and Aber diamond distribution pipeline. Similarly, several companies purchase diamond rough from the DeBeers Diamond Trading Company (DTC).

Then sell their production to a multitude of online diamond dealers and retail jewelry stores. The majority of diamond cutting companies that source their diamond rough from Canada export the diamonds to manufacturing facilities in India, Israel, Belgium, or China.

The listing details indicate that this "Canadamark" 1.05 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent diamond from Blue Nile is from a diamond cutter located in India.

Which begs the question: "Why is the cutting of Canadamark Diamonds occurring in India?"

Doesn't it stand to reason that a "Canadamark diamond" cut from "Canadian diamond rough" should be cut by a diamond cutter located in Canada?

Or maybe I'm just taking the idea of Canadian diamonds too seriously.

Diamond Rough from Canada:

This picture shows the Canadian Diamond Rough for this 1.05 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut diamond from Blue Nile. I've got to say that it looks just like any other piece of diamond rough to me.

So, how do you know that it's Canadian? Well, just like the tracking system based on the Kimberley Act of 2003 for standard diamonds, you're supposed to accept that this is a Canadian diamond based on the word and integrity of the cutter.

So, Where's the Beef? What's the difference?

What Makes Canadian Diamonds Special?

Three Row Pave Halo Setting by Ritani Diamonds.

Ritani Diamonds Ships to Canada & Worldwide.

Proponents of Canadian Diamonds will tell you that you can rest assured that this is a Canadian Diamond because the diamond rough was sealed in a parcel with a barcode that references the mine of origin and its characteristics of the diamond.

But an industry insider like me will tell you that's the same way that diamond rough from other countries moves under the guidelines of the Kimberley Diamond Act of 2003.

So, once again, what's the difference? What makes this Canadian Diamond cut in India more impressive than the rest?

Unless you're Canadian and you want a diamond cut from material yanked out of your home turf, I just don't get it.

What Makes Canadian Diamonds So Expensive?

Given what you know about Canadian Diamonds, like the Blue Nile Canadamark diamond from India, you might be wondering what makes Canadian diamonds so expensive.

After all, there is a reason why they're outsourcing the cutting of Canadian diamonds to India, and it's s probably because of the cheaper cost of labor.

But that doesn't explain why this 1.04 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from Blue Nile is less expensive because it's from the same diamond cutter in India.

Canadian Diamonds In the Rough:

Just for the record, it's not the diamond rough because the supplier also provides a photograph of the diamond rough for this 1.04 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from Blue Nile.

This diamond has ideal proportions within the range I recommend. It also has a GIA diamond grading report that does not indicate the brand, and the diamond lacks a logo indicating origin.

Consequently, India's same diamond cutter is the source for the 1.04 and 1.05 carat Blue Nile Canadamark Diamonds.

Price Comparison of GIA Excellent and Canadamark Diamonds:

GIA Excellent

Standard Ideal Cut Diamond

$

7,228.38

/PC

  • Ideal Proportions
  • 40.8˚ pavilion angle
  • 35˚ crown angle
  • GIA Excellent Cut
Canadamark

Standard Ideal Cut Diamond

$

7,429.71

/PC

  • Ideal Proportions
  • 40.8˚ pavilion angle
  • 34.5˚ crown angle
  • GIA Excellent Cut

I imagine you're probably wondering whether the Black by Brian Gavin Diamond is that much better than the standard GIA Excellent and Canadamark diamond from Blue Nile.

Let me ask you a question.

Does a Porsche GT3 RS offer superior performance over a standard Porsche 911 non-turbo?

The Black by Brian Gavin Hearts & Arrows diamond exhibits a higher degree of optical precision. That means that it will display a higher degree of light return and sparkle factor that is more vivid and intense.

Achieving that perfection level requires about four times longer on the wheel and incurs a more significant diamond rough loss.

Hey, look at that.

The 2020 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is now available in Brian Gavin Orange.

The adage that time is money, and you get what you pay for is as applicable for diamonds as anything else. It must be a sign.

Where Can I Buy Canadian Diamonds?

It wasn't that long ago that you could buy Canadian Diamonds here:

However, none of those vendors appear to offer them a specific classification on their sites any longer. As you might have gathered, I can search for Canadian diamonds using the multiple listing services (MLS) used by the trade to market diamonds globally

I'm happy to assist you with your Canadian diamond search and answer any questions you might have about the available options. Just drop me a note.

The Diavik Canadian Diamond Mine:

The Diavik Diamond Mine, located in the Canadian Northwest Territory, is probably the most widely recognized diamond mines in all of Canada. The Diavik Diamond Mine is operated in part by the Rio Tinto Mining Group.

The Diavik Diamond Mine, located in the Canadian Northwest Territory, is probably the most widely recognized diamond mines in all of Canada. The Diavik Diamond Mine is operated in part by the Rio Tinto Mining Group.

Many of the Canadian Diamonds are from diamond rough, which originate from the Diavik Diamond Mine that stands on a 20-kilometer square island, informally called East Island.

It's in a region called Lac de Gras, located within the Northwest Territory of Canada approximately 300 kilometers as the crow flies northeast of Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories.

Chronological Hisgtory of the Canadian Diavik Diamond Mine

1991 - 1992

Aber stakes mineral claim.

March 1992

Exploration begins.

June 1992

Aber Resources Kennecott Canada Exploration form Diavik joint venture.

1994 - 1995

Pipes A-21 A154-South A154-North and A418 discovered

February 1996

75-person exploration camp erected for underground bulk sampling.

July 1996

900 tonne bulk sampling of A418 and A154 South pipes completed.

December 1996

Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. created with head office in Yellowknife.

March 1997

Bulk sample transported over winter road to Yellowknife for processing.   Approximately 21000 carats of diamonds recovered.

June 1997

Environmental baseline studies completed.

September 1997

Pre-feasibility study completed.

March 1998

Project description submitted to Federal Government triggering formal environmental assessment review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

September 1998

Environmental Assessment Report submitted and Comprehensive Public Involvement Plan initiated.

November 1999

Federal Government approves project for permitting and licensing.

September 2000

Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. receives all necessary permits and licenses to bring mine into production.

December 2000

Investors of Rio Tinto plc and Aber Diamond Corporation approve $1.3 billion expenditure to build mine.

January 2001

Mine construction begins.

October 2001

A154 dike earthworks completed.

July 2002

A154 dike completed and dewatering commences.

December 2002

Mine virtually complete.

January 2003

Diamond production begins.

May 2003

First million carats produced.

May 2003

1.9 million accident-free hours.

April 2003

Aber’s first sale of rough diamonds.

July 2003

Rio Tinto Diamonds’ first sale of rough diamonds.

As you can see, it took a little more than 12 years of research and development before the mining companies who invested in the Canadian Diavik Diamond Mine were able to realize any profits. Just a little something to think about when you contemplate what factors into the price of natural diamonds.

Lac de Gras the Diamond Mining Region of Canada:

Aboriginal people named the Lake Ekati for quartz veins found in local bedrock outcrops resembling caribou fat. Lac de Gras is 60 kilometers long and averages 16 kilometers wide with a shoreline length of 740 kilometers.

The lake averages 12 meters in-depth and has a maximum depth of 56 meters. The water temperature ranges from 0°C to 18°C in the summer. Aquatic productivity is low due to low nutrients, low light during the winter, eight months of ice, and low water temperatures. The water quality resembles distilled water.

Various wildlife such as trout, cisco, whitefish, arctic grayling, burbot, longnose sucker, and slimy sculpin inhabit the lake. The water body has a drainage area of about 4,000 square kilometers.

Lac du Sauvage lies to the Northeast of the Coppermine River's headwaters, which flows 520 kilometers from Western Lac de Gras to the Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic Circle is about 220 kilometers north of the mine. The key to operating a mine in Canada's remote wilderness is a private ice road that various mining companies share.

The road has been in operation for about twenty years and requires annual service. Approximately 75% of the road is ice and runs over frozen lakes.

Geology of the Area:

The Diavik Diamond Mine lies in Precambrian rocks of the Slave Geological Province. Known to host deposits of gold, copper, zinc, nickel, and now diamonds, this ancient rock is among the world's oldest and was formed about 2.7 to 2.5 billion years ago.

Map of the Region:

The Slave Geological Province has produced much of the North's mineral wealth. Slave Geological Province map courtesy of the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Granitic rocks predominantly underlie the area and intrude into slightly older meta-sedimentary rocks, initially from sandstone and shale deposits.

The area's geology is typical of ancient, 2.5-2.7 billion-year-old Precambrian rocks. It contains a mixture of metamorphosed sedimentary (metaturbidites) and granitic (e.g., granite, tonalite) rocks.

How Do They Explore and Look For Diamonds in Canada?

Finding diamond deposits is difficult and costly. Rather than look for the elusive and rare diamonds, geologists seek other clues. Working from tent camps, geologists conduct several types of surveys.

Geochemical surveys and soil samples are taken and panned for indicator minerals like garnets found in more abundance in kimberlite pipes. A trail of indicator minerals can lead to potential Kimber pipes.

Also, geophysical surveys can differentiate hidden kimberlite pipes from surrounding host rock. Maps like the one above are computer-generated using geophysical data.

If potential kimberlite targets appear, portable diamond drills remove core samples. The results will determine if the target contains kimberlite. Further drilling helps define pipe size and shape and provides additional rock for diamond testing.

Not all kimberlite pipes have diamonds. In fact, of the world's estimated 5,000 kimberlites, only 23 contain enough diamonds to warrant the expense of operating a mining operation.

When diamonds are found in sufficient quantities to suggest an orebody, a small mining operation removes a more extensive sample weighing several thousand tonnes. This sample is processed to remove the diamonds that they evaluate for quantity, quality, and size.

Canadian Diamonds Travel Up Kimber Pipes to the Earth's Surface:

The kimberlite pipes at the Diavik Diamond Mine are volcanic cores injected into the much older, granitic, and meta-sedimentary rocks a mere 55 million years ago.

Kimberlite is a rare rock type commonly found in carrot-shaped pipes, representing the roots of ancient, small volcanoes. A drawing of a carrot-shaped kimberlite pipe is shown here.

The Kimber pipes originate from over 150 km below the earth's surface, where diamonds commonly form, the kimberlite may bring diamonds to the surface.

Globally, kimberlite pipes average 12 hectares in surface area and reach depths of several hundred meters. The Kimber pipes in the Diavik Diamond Mine range in surface area from 0.9 to 1.6 hectares and extend below 400 meters.

Relatively fresh, often charred – but not petrified – wood found only in China today, has been encountered in drill core at depths up to 400 meters. As a result of the warmer prehistoric climate, the coniferous trees fell and incorporated into the pipes.

The Region Around the Diavik Diamond Mine:

The rolling tundra surrounds the Diavik Diamond Mine. The region was initially named the "Barren Lands" by early explorers due to its lack of trees. The area includes numerous lakes, bedrock outcrops, and glacial deposits of boulders, till, and eskers.

There is little known soil of cryosolic order because it forms where permafrost occurs within 1-2 meters of the surface. Characteristics include layers that disrupt, mix, or break during the freeze-thaw activity.

Vegetation Around the Diavik Diamond Mine:

Vegetation includes dwarf birch, northern Labrador tea, blueberry, mountain cranberry, and bearberry, with willow, sphagnum moss, and sedge tussocks dominating wet lowlands.

Wildlife Species Near the Diavik Diamond Mine:

Mammal species that inhabit the region include grizzly bears, wolves, foxes, arctic hare, ground squirrels, and wolverines. In spring and fall, portions of the Bathurst caribou herd migrate through the region. Eighty-four bird species and 16 mammal species are summer visitors or permanent residents.

Nice Ice Blueprint™

The Nice Ice® Blueprint™.

Super Charge Your Diamond Buying Skills:

Follow the Steps in The Nice Ice® Diamond Buying Blueprint™ and Unlock the Secret for Maximizing Sparkle Factor and Light Performance. These are the Tips & Tricks from the back office of Nice Ice Diamonds.