Diamonds: The Rise of Canadian Diamonds

Canadian Club

CanadaMark made a comeback at JCK Las Vegas—including, for the first time, a business-to-­business platform for retailers. The insignia, which signifies a diamond’s Canadian origin and is inscribed on a stone’s girdle, was originally introduced by miner BHP Billiton in 2003 and was acquired by Dominion Diamond when it purchased the Ekati mine 10 years later.

Dominion is targeting consumers in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, which have the strongest demand for Canadian-mined gems, says Jim Pounds, president of Dominion Diamond Marketing Corp.

The main attraction of owning Canadian stones, at least for non-Canadian buyers, is that they are responsibly mined: “In terms of mining ethically and responsibly, Canadian diamond standards are the highest in the world,” he says. “That appeals to the public.”

Marketing may even use the C word: conflict-free. “Given that it’s from Canada, it’s conflict-free, of course,” he says.

Dominion owns Ekati and 40 percent of the neighboring Diavik mine, but CanadaMark will also certify diamonds from other mines and mine owners in the area. While the program is intended to increase demand for Dominion goods, it is not being treated as a profit center in and of itself, Pounds says.

The brand has developed a B-to-B trading platform where CanadaMark licensees can sell gems to interested retailers.

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