Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Where are Canadian Diamonds (or, Canada Diamonds) really… “made”?

The question of “where are Canadian Diamonds or, Canada Diamonds really… ‘made’?” sounds almost preposterous… Well, ‘obviously’ they are ‘made’ in Canada…. Why at all use the label “made”… Are they manmade? Well, while not being manmade, the issue of their “making” still makes sense. For diamonds from Canada are of three different kinds of “from” Canada… Those who are mined in Canada but cut, polished and finished elsewhere, those who are mined, cut, polished and finished in Canada’s North Western Territories, and diamonds that are mined, cut, polished and finished elsewhere in Canada. Only those that are mined, cut, polished and finished in Canada’s North Western Territories may be accompanied by a certificate issued by the local North Western Territories government attesting to this particular lineage. The government of the territories had originally conditioned its grant of mining rights on allocating 10% of the yield to local cutters, all located in the Territorial capital of Yellowknife. In a bid to support this industry, a system of check, balances and inspections had been put in place with the goal of making sure that all diamonds mined and finished in Yellowknife are truly so. According to some, the jury is still out with respect to the extent of success of the program and its enforcement. Next, there are diamonds purchased from Canadian rough shipments arriving in Antwerp and then sold to “sightholders”­qualifying buyers, only to be shipped back to Canada and be cut in places that are out of the North Western Territories (e.g., in British Columbia and elsewhere). Finally, there are diamonds purchased from Canadian rough shipments arriving in Antwerp and then sold to “sightholders” who cut then in Antwerp or elsewhere. Those latter ones surely qualify to the title of Canadian Origin diamonds or Canadian Mined Diamonds, especially since many of them are following a strict record keeping system that ties each finished diamond with its original Canadian mined rough as prescribed by what is known as the “Canadian Diamond Code of Ethics”. Are Canadian diamonds that are cut elsewhere, yet maintain solid traceability to their original Canadian rough in fact Canadian Diamonds? The cutters in Canada’s Yellowknife cry “Foul” claiming that only their diamonds qualify for the Canadian appellation. They point out that custom regulations usually weigh the relative value imparted upon a product via its different components as created in various countries to determine the Country of origin” for the “made in…” label of products. The country that its contribution to the final product is the largest in the overall value is the one in which the product is “made”. The finishing of the diamond, they claim, imparts the bulk of the diamond’s value. Others contests the “weight” of the added value imparted to a diamond by its finishing, or, even the very use of the customs example at all, as the issue is different. The words “made in” are not used here at all. We are just using the descriptive combination: “Canadian Diamond” or “Canada Diamond” No claim is made of “made in”. Hence, true Canadian origin or Canada mined diamonds are fairly described as Canadian Diamonds, especially when one considers that at issue is mainly the country of mining when buyers seek Conflict Free Diamonds (diamonds that, unlike “Blood Diamonds”, originate in non conflict parts of the world and the proceeds from their extractions do not support anyone’s war efforts etc.). The bulk of Canadian Diamonds sold today worldwide as Canadian diamonds are really Canadian Origin diamonds cut elsewhere. A prime example is “Igloo Diamonds” who sell Canadian Diamonds of Canadian Origin that are cut elsewhere but only from cutters who are subscribers to the Canadian Diamond Code of Ethics and in compliance with the code’s requirement that a unique DIN (Diamond Identification Number) tying it to its Canadian origin is laser inscribed on each diamond’s girdle. Another example is the bulk of the CanadaMark diamonds (not sold by Igloo Diamonds). Igloo, who chose the path of bloodlessness and ethics in marketing its diamonds collaborates also with the UN affiliated “Adopt-A-Minefield” campaign in clearing landmines in Mozambique issues its own, guarantied Canadian Origin Certificate for each diamond (containing its DIN) and is about to use also the miner’s Mine of Origin” certificate. To see Igloo Diamonds Canadian Diamonds selection visits their site that is also accessible from www.diamonds.org. Free use of this text is authorized provided that it is quoted in its entirety and unedited.