Tag Archives: de beers

Canada: The Diamond Powerhouse

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Most people can name the top 5 diamond producing countries in the world.   Russia…check.   Australia…absolutely-check.   A trio of African countries Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa…check, check and check.   But did you know Canada is #6 in the world?

What’s interesting about Canada’s place in the diamond world is that the precious stones were not found until the mid-80s with working diamond mines popping up less than a decade later.

Canada has never been a place to find excessively large diamonds, the largest one ever found is a 35-carat stone recovered from the De Beers Victor Mine near Attawapiskat in Northern Ontario in 2013.   The diamond was purchased, cut and polished by Vancouver diamond maker Crossworks.

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Currently there are five mines in operation in Canada.   Three are located north of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories: the Diavik Mine, the Ekati Mine and the Snap Lake Mine.   The aforementioned Ontario-based Victor Mine as well as the Jericho Mine in Nanuvut are the other two Canadian mines.

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The most recent star of the Canadian diamond world is this 11-carat rough diamond recovered from the Ekati mine.  The stone is currently on display at the Royal Alberta Museum as part of their mineral collection.

According to Melissa Bowerman, assistant curator of geology for the facility, the diamond is going to remain on display as a permanent feature of an expanded mineral exhibit when the new downtown Edmonton location opens as western Canada’s largest museum in December 2017.

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Pink Diamond Could Sell For $15 Million

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The diamond world could be rocked with a new record later this year when this 8.41-carat purple-pink diamond goes up for auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Autumn Sale.

The stone, originally mined by De Beers, weighed in at 19.54-carats in its rough form.   It will tour around the world with stops in Singapore, Taipei, New York, London, Geneva and Hong Kong leading up to the October 7th auction.

At the auction, the pear-shaped stone could sell between $12.8 million and $15.4 million (USD).   The per-carat selling record for a pink diamond was set in 2009 when a 5-carat stone sold for $2.1 million/carat.   If this purple-pink stone goes beyond estimate and sells for over $18 million, that record could be in jeopardy.

The largest overall sale for a pink diamond was for the Graff Pink Diamond, a 24.76-carat, Fancy Intense pink diamond that sold at auction in 2010 for $46.2 million or $1.86 million per carat.

In the years since those two massive pink diamond sales, the value of pink diamonds has continued to increased in value.   A situation that will only continue as the world’s main source of pink diamonds, the Argyle mine in Australia is expected to close by 2019.  

The Incomparable Diamond

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With yellow diamonds increasing in value astronomically, we thought we would take a look at one of the most famous yellow diamonds ever recovered, the Incomparable Diamond.

Weighing in at 890 carats in it’s rough form, the stone was originally found in the early 1980s in the town of Mbuji Maya in the Democratic Republic of Congo.   Ironically, the diamond was found among the rubble from a diamond mine that had been rejected as not containing anything of value.

The yellow stone ended up in the hands of De Beers who gave it to famed gem cutter Leo Wins to cut down into smaller diamonds.  The final result was that the massive gem was cut down into one large diamond weighing 407.48 carats and 14 smaller diamonds ranging from 1.33 carats to 15.66 carats.

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The largest diamond, now owned by Mouawad Jewelry, is considered the largest Internally Flawless diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America.  The stone is the centrepiece of L’Incomparable diamond necklace which also features 35 round diamonds, 27 pear-shaped diamonds, nine heart-shaped diamonds, five emerald-cut diamonds, five cushion diamonds, four oval diamonds, three Asscher-cut diamonds and two radiant diamonds. The total diamond carat weight for the piece is 637 carats.   When first exhibited in 2013, the necklace set the Guinness World Record as the most expensive necklace with a value of $55 million.

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Forbes Diamond Billionaires

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American business magazine Forbes has posted its 28th annual Forbes Billionaires List.   The big news at the top was that Bill Gates was back after slipping to #2 in 2013.   He has topped Forbes’ list 15 out of the last 20 years.

We decided to focus on the five people on the list who made their fortune in the diamond industry.

#205 Nicky Oppenheimer & Family

The 68-year old South African businessman made his fortune as the chairman of the De Beers Diamond company and its subsidiary the Diamond Trading Company.   He followed both his father, Harry Oppenheimer and his grandfather Ernest Oppenheimer in that role.   His current net worth is $6.7 billion.

#305 Laurence Graff & Family

The founder of Graff Diamonds, the 75-year old started as a jewel apprentice and now has a net worth of $4.8 billion.   It was in 1960 when he started his own jewel company focusing on the rich and elite from around the world.   His clients have included actress Elizabeth Taylor and the Sultan of Brunei.  Graff is the owner of two of the world’s most famous colour diamonds, the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond, a 31.06 carat fancy deep blue intense stone and the Graff Pink, a type IIa 24.78 carat pink diamond.

#367 Beny Steinmetz

The 57-year old, currently worth $4.1 billion, has business interests in diamonds, engineering and real estate.  In his 20s, this Israeli businessman moved to Geneva to take over the Steinmetz Diamond Group from his father Robin Steinmetz.  The company became De Beers’ largest buyer of rough diamonds.   Steinmetz Diamond Group were also famous for cutting  the Pink Star, the largest Vivid Pink diamond ever found.

#1284 Lev Leviev

As a teenager, Leviev and his family immigrated from Uzbekistan to Israel where he learned the diamond trade.  Today, at 57 years old, he is considered one of De Beers’ biggest competitors and has a net worth of $1.3 billion.   He has diamond mining interests in places such as Russia, Angola and Alaska and is the owner of the high-end diamond boutique Leviev with locations in New York City, London, Singapore and Dubai.

#1372 Nirav Modi

The youngest person on our list, this 43 year old diamond jewelry designer has a net worth of $1.2 billion.   Modi first made his mark in November 2010 at a Christie’s auction where he sold a necklace that featured with a 12.29 carat Golconda diamond suspended on a pink diamond chain for $3 million. He is currently the sole jewelry supplier to all Armed Forces bases in the United States and is the owner of Firestar Diamond a company with manufacturing outlets in Russia, Armenia and South Africa.   The company also owns owner bridal jewelry retailer A.Jaffe which has stores in the United States, Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas and Netherlands-Antilles.