Ekati to ‘Brand’ Its Diamonds

Canada’s Ekati mine, the only diamond mine currently in production in that country, has announced plans to brand and certify “Made in Canada” diamonds.

The stones will be sold mostly in Canada, although U.S. or Japanese sales are a possibility, says Ekati spokesman Graham Nicholls. Approximately 20 Canadian retailers have agreed to sell the diamonds, which will be laser-inscribed with Ekati’s “maple leaf” logo.

The stones carry three certificates. The first, from the AGS lab, documents the diamond’s specifications. The second, from the government of the Northwest Territories, verifies that it’s from Canada. The third—which uses technology from Toronto-based Gemprint—guarantees it’s from Ekati. The announcement was greeted by yet another international press article recommending Canadian diamonds as a way to avoid conflict stones. But Nicholls says this is something the mine would never promote. “I suppose it’s difficult to avoid that association,” he says. “But from both an ethical and business standpoint, we have no intention of exploiting this serious human rights situation.”

Because the program involves only top-quality stones, Nicholls expects only three to four thousand stones to be sold this year. “This is not a large-scale program,” he says. “We don’t have plans to expand it for now. We want to do this well and take stock of how successful the program is before expanding.”

Ekati’s majority owner, BHP, also sells diamonds over the Internet at www.aurias.com.

Canadian cutter Sirius sells Canadian-mined and -manufactured diamonds inscribed with a polar bear logo.