The rough diamond was unearthed at the Diavik Diamond Mine, approximately 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories, jointly owned by mining companies Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines, which made the announcement Friday.
It is the largest diamond discovery in North America, far surpassing the previous record held by the 187.7-carat “Diavik Foxfire,” which was recovered at the same mine in 2015.
The gemstone, which measures 33.74mm x 54.56mm, was discovered while passing through the initial screening process at Diavik’s recovery plant. “Abrasion markings on the stone’s surface attest to the difficult journey it underwent during recovery, and the fact that it remains intact is remarkable,” the company said in a statement. “A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America.”
The diamond will not be sold in its rough form, Dominion said. Due to the significance of the discovery, the company will select a partner who will cut and polish the stone.
Dominion said it expects to achieve a significant main stone once the diamond is polished. It will contain the “Canadamark” hallmark showing that it was responsibly mined, natural and untreated. The certification details the gem’s Canadian history from the mine of origin to the polished stone as tracked through an independent, audited process. The trademarked Canadamark brand is owned by Dominion Diamond Mines.
Dominion said the rough diamond’s value is difficult to determine as it is still undergoing evaluation. However, as a comparison, the Diavik Foxfire yielded two main polished diamonds: A 37.87-carat brilliant-cut pear shape gem and a 36.80-carat brilliant-cut pear shape stone. They were both recently auctioned at Christies for $1.3 million.
The Diavik Diamond Mine began producing diamonds in January 2003. Rio Tinto, a multinational mining firm based in London, owns a 60% stake in Diavik and Dominion Diamond Mines, based in Calgary, owns the remaining 40%. Dominion also has a controlling interest in the Ekati Diamond Mine in Yellowknife.
By: Anthony DeMarco