Canadian Diamonds

By Alyssa on August 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Picture Canada. What comes to mind? Perhaps the vast boreal forests, or crystal clear lakes reflecting stars from unpolluted skies, or maybe the herds of caribou leaping across the tundra–not to mention the maple leaves and hockey, of course. Like their country of origin, Canadian diamonds have a pristine image. They are considered one of the most ethical and environmentally conscious choices for diamonds, the truly conflict-free alternative to African diamonds. They are also one of the most expensive diamonds on the market. So, is it worth it? We have written up the main pros and cons below so that you can form your own opinion, and if you are shopping for a diamond, feel more empowered to choose a diamond that’s right for you.

There are six diamond mines in Canada, including the Diavik Mine, Ekati Mine, Snap Lake Mine, and Gahcho Kue Mine Project in the Northwest Territories; the Jericho Mine in Nunavut; and the Victor Mine in Ontario. The three transnational mining companies that run the Canadian diamond industry are Rio Tinto, BHP, and to a smaller degree, De Beers. While these companies have a history associated with exploitation of people and lands, the issues of the diamond industry have since been exposed and today these companies are under a lot of pressure to invest heavily in ethical practices. We offer Canadian diamonds that come from the Diavik, Ekati, Snap Lake, and Victor mines in the Northwest Territories and Ontario. We are only able to source Canadian diamonds that are .50ct and higher, and because of the limited supply we are not necessarily able to guarantee the exact color and clarity requested by a customer, but we’ll do our best!

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Rough Diamonds

By Emily on August 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm

At Bario-Neal, we have a high standard for ethically sourced materials. One of the more traceable ethically sourced materials that we work with is our rough diamonds. Many of the human rights abuse issues associated with the diamond industry happen in the cutting and polishing process. With rough diamonds, there is no cutting and polishing, virtually eliminating these possibilities. You can read more about our ethically sourced rough diamonds in Alyssa’s interview with Kerin, here.

Working with rough diamonds in fine jewelry is relatively new. Most of the information and research on diamonds is specific to cut and graded diamonds. Aside from that, there is very little information on the internet about rough diamonds and how they are used in jewelry.  Because of this, it is easy to misunderstand or under-appreciate rough diamonds.

Rough diamonds come in a vast variety of sizes, shapes and colors and each of these characteristics contributes to a stone’s rarity and thus its cost.  Unlike cut diamonds, there is no certification system available for rough diamonds and so the dealer inspects and determines the color and clarity of each diamond.  Once diamonds are cut, inclusions are a lot easier to hide because of the facets of the stone. In their rough state, inclusions are easy to detect to the naked eye. This is not necessarily a bad quality (as it would be for a cut diamond), but rather contributes to the natural beauty and brilliance of the stone.

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