Canadian diamonds lay hidden beneath the barren and remote wastelands of the Canadian Arctic in the Northwest Territories and remained undiscovered well into the last century. They were formed more than a billion years ago by natural forces. The Ekati mine was Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine and the Diavik mine is Canada’s largest diamond mine in terms of carat production.
Throughout their operation the Ekati and Diavik mines have maintained stellar track records of worker health and safety and have honoured their social and environmental obligations.
When Canadian diamonds were eventually discovered special priority was placed on negotiating mutually beneficial agreements with local indigenous populations and respecting the Arctic environment. Both mines are signatories to environmental impact benefit and socio-economic agreements involving local Aboriginal groups and the federal and territorial governments. The agreements include firm commitments to local job creation, business opportunities, community development and environmental stewardship.
A large percentage of the workforce is Aboriginal. Annual spending on local goods and services reaches hundreds of millions of dollars. Both mines invest heavily in community projects aimed at improving the quality of life of local residents. There is a strong emphasis on youth, the future of the North, through the support of youth health and wellness, and literacy and education.
Canadian diamonds are mined according to Canada’s strict environmental laws, which are among the most rigorous in the world. These high standards protect caribou and other wildlife, water, and fish habitats. In addition, diamonds from Canada are wholly free from violence and human rights abuses. Both mines are independently monitored and certified as ISO 14001 compliant for their environmental quality and control processes.
In order for these diamonds to be approved they have to be tracked, independently by a third party, from mine to customer to ensure they are ethical, environmentally sourced and conflict free. Tracking also ensures that no unnatural treatments or alterations have been made to the diamonds. All Canadian diamonds are tracked with procedures consistent with those established by leading Canadian diamond certification authorities such as the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct, CanadaMark, or the Government of the Northwest Territories.
A certificate card is given to every CanadaMark diamond. However, evidence regarding the movement of the diamond through the tracking system, the technical characteristics, and the origin of the diamond must be provided by the manufacturer before a certificate is issued. After the diamond is accepted a unique serial number and the CanadaMark logo are laser inscribed onto it. The weight of the stone and the serial number will be placed into the CanadaMark database.
When you see the CanadaMark logo inscribed on a diamond you can be sure that it is completely natural and free of treatments that are sometimes used to “improve” a diamond. CanadaMark diamonds are never treated by lasers to lighten dark inclusions, fracture-filled to mask inclusions, or subjected to high pressure and high temperature treatments to change the colour.
The CanadaMark logo is also an assurance of quality. Regardless of size, every CanadaMark diamond must also meet specific standards for colour, clarity, finish and symmetry.