CanadaMark is a leading brand of diamonds mined in Canada under the umbrella of the Dominion Diamond Corporation. According to a recent press release, James Allen has become the exclusive online retailer of their diamonds. According to James Allen, all of their CanadaMark diamonds feature a unique serial number. A certificate of origin will also accompany each diamond under this brand designation.
These diamonds originate from Dominion’s Ekati mine, or the Diavik mine which it owns in part with Rio Tinto. Both the Ekati and Diavik diamond mines are deep in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The selling point is that they track the diamond rough from the mine, through the polishing process and inscribe each diamond with their logo. They claim that an independent auditing process monitors the system.
James Allen is certainly a great place to shop for Canadian diamonds. Not only are they one of my preferred vendors, but they’re also very popular with my clients. The fact that they now offer CanadaMark diamonds makes things easier for me. By the same token, this should make things easier for you if you have your heart set on a Canadian diamond.
With this in mind, I thought that I should search James Allen for CanadaMark diamonds to see what they have available. Unfortunately, it appears that I might have jumped the gun. Because my search for them on James Allen came up empty:
You can imagine my surprise, because I hadn’t even set the Advanced Options yet! Obviously this might make it a little challenging to buy a CanadaMark diamond from James Allen. However, there is more than one way to skin a cat as the saying goes! Let’s search for Canada Mark diamonds the way I usually do it, then we’ll backtrack to find it on James Allen.
As a trade member, the reality is that I don’t search for diamonds the same way you probably do. To put it another way, I don’t usually run from site to site searching for diamonds. The reason is because I have access to the multiple listing service that we use to trade diamonds globally. As you can imagine, I have saved searches that feature my presets for searching each diamond shape. Thus all I have to do to search for Canada Mark diamonds is select that option under brand type. My search criteria also automatically filters out any diamonds that contain clarity characteristics that I prefer to avoid.
With this in mind, I brought up the search page on the MLS and designated CanadaMark as the brand. It took less than a minute to find this 1.02 carat, E-color, VVS-1 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from James Allen. It goes without saying that the diamond meets my selection criteria.
James Allen does not provide reflector scope images for diamonds which aren’t part of their True Hearts collection. However, the cutter provides these images within the listing details. We use ASET Scope, Hearts & Arrows Scope, and Ideal Scope images to judge optical precision. You can read more about what the different colors of an ASET Scope represent. By the numbers, the 40.8 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return. The 34.5 degree crown angle should produce a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
While it’s nice to have the hearts photograph, in this case it simply confirms that this is not a hearts and arrows diamond. Be that as it may, the pattern still looks pretty good. It’s definitely much better than a lot of GIA Excellent cut diamonds are going to exhibit.
One thing that bothers me about CanadaMark diamonds is that they rarely feature the brand inscription. For example, the GIA diamond grading report for this diamond indicates that the diamond is inscribed with GIA 6183342058. That’s simply the diamond grading report number. So, how do we know that this is actually a Canada Mark diamond?
It goes without saying that you might want to verify that the diamond is CanadaMark before you buy it. I can tell you that the diamond is classified as CanadaMark under the brand designation in the MLS. However the diamond cutter from India does not provide any additional details for this one.
It would be nice if this diamond were inscribed with the brand logo and registry number. Just a thought, I’m not trying to kick a hornets nest or anything. It just seems to me that if you’re going to spend upwards of $11K for a CanadaMark diamond, that it should feature the brand inscription and registry numnber.
Of course, you can verify a CanadaMark diamond online if you have the carat weight and the registry number. All right, that sounds good, let’s do it. Oh, wait, we don’t have the registry number! Well, that seems like kind of a Catch 22.
Before we go much further, I want to remind you that James Allen is not representing this diamond as CanadaMark. Remember that I couldn’t find any CanadaMark diamonds on their web site. My search for them on James Allen was a total bust. Not one single CanadaMark brand diamond appears to be available. Therefore, I ran a search for them on the MLS that we use to trade diamonds globally. Then I ran a search on James Allen, found the diamond, and verified the diamond grading report number.
At this point, the issue is not with James Allen. Rather it is with CanadaMark and the manner in which their diamonds are marketed. For the record, here are the details provided on the MLS listing. Obviously, I have to redact some of the details because they are proprietary in nature:
Just the same, you can clearly see that the diamond grading report numbers match. CanadaMark is indicated as the brand diamond. The location of this particular diamond cutter is Mumbai, India. The inscription field indicates that the only inscription is the GIA diamond grading report number. There is no indication of an additional inscription, such as the brand logo. As you might imagine, I have a bit of an issue with this from the consumer perspective. However, I also know what is going on behind the scenes, since I’m a trade member.
One of our primary cutters used to offer CanadaMark diamonds cut to our specifications. Obtaining the certificate requires payment of an additional fee, which of course we were happy to pay. In reality, the registration cost is minimal; however, it seems idiotic to me that the registration is optional.
Why bother cutting diamonds from CanadaMark rough, if you’re not going to register them? Seriously, what is the point? In this particular instance, we know that the diamond is from a cutter in India. Take a look at the screenshot to the left which is from the CanadaMark web site. Two sentences JUMP OFF THE PAGE:
“When you see the CanadaMark logo inscribed on a diamond…”
“The CanadaMark logo is also an assurance of quality…”
Clearly this particular CanadaMark diamond is not inscribed, but that doesn’t mean that others are not. Obviously, if I were buying a CanadaMark diamond, then I would insist on three things:
This will require that this diamond be resubmitted to the GIA for grading. Therefore, you might want to allow a little extra time for these guys to get their ducks in a row. This might seem like an inconvenience, but if you’re going to buy a Canadian diamond, doesn’t it make sense to dot the i’s and cross the T’s?
I don’t know yet whether James Allen will be offering CanadaMark engagement rings. This screenshot shows some very pretty designs, however the reality is that they’re also pretty basic. James Allen already offers a really nice selection of engagement rings. Thus I’m confident that you can find something more interesting than these.
Plus, I’m kind of curious about what makes these CanadaMark engagement rings. Because the little red box in the lower left corner highlights a bit of small print which reads:
“Diamonds smaller than 0.20 carats are not CanadaMark diamonds.”
Seriously? I don’t even know what to say. Why would you pay a premium for a CanadaMark engagement ring, if the accent diamonds aren’t CanadaMark diamonds? Am I the only person who finds this troubling? Leave a comment below and let me know.