World’s largest new diamond mine opens in Canada

The Gahcho Kue diamond mine image

The Gahcho Kue diamond mine – one of the largest new mines in the world – has officially opened in Canada’s North West Territories.

The open-pit mine is located near the Arctic Circle, 280 km northeast of the province’s capital Yellowknife.

De Beers officially opened it, with chief executive Bruce Cleaver telling AFP, “It’s the largest diamond mine brought into production in the last 13 years and it’s the biggest outside South Africa.”

The company owns a 51 per cent of the joint venture, with the remainder owned by Canada’s Mountain Province Diamonds.

Its name comes from the local indigenous Chipewyan term for “big rabbit”.

The site is mainly accessible by air, with trucks only able to access via ice roads for a short period of time in winter months. An estimated 530 workers will be employed, and flown in for two week rotations.

It will produce 54 million carats of rough diamonds during its 12-year life.

With this new mine – the sixth to open in Canada in the last 20 years – the country becomes the fifth largest diamonds producer in the world by volume, as well as the third by value, recording more than $1.5 billion a year in exports.

Cleaver indicated a medium to long term growth in the demand for jewellery, which will still support diamond growth, although production is in decline.

China, the US, Japan, and India are the largest diamond purchasers, buying more than 70 per cent of diamonds sold each year.


Production to begin at world’s largest new diamond mine

Mountain Province Diamonds has began ramping up its Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories to commercial production, following its successful commissioning. 

The Gahcho Kué, a joint venture between Mountain Province Diamonds and De Beers Canada, is considered the world’s largest new diamond mine.

The project will begin commercial production in the first quarter of next year and produce an average of 4.5 million carats annually during its 12 year life.

First ore was produced on March 23 2016, with Mountain Province President and CEO Patrick Evans saying both the commissioning and ramp up activities was a “major achievement” for the joint venture.

During the ramp up commissioning phase, the site also produced two large gems; a 12.10 carat and 24.64 carat diamond.

Its first diamond sale is set to take place by the end of this year.

Henry Sapiecha

This new technology could be the worst enemy for blood diamonds

Illegal diamond miners.image

Sooner than you think, you will be able to learn where a diamond really comes from, its measurements, grading and other key information by simply using a smartphone, as two companies have partnered to bring near field communication (NFC) — best known for enabling mobile payments — into the diamond industry.

Thinfilm, which prints NFC tags, and Sarine Technologies, which develops technologies for diamonds and gemstones, said Tuesday they are working together to empower jewellers and consumers by increasing transparency in the diamond retail.

Applying near field communication, or NFC, smartphone users can learn a diamond’s history, measurements, grading and other key information.Thinfilm will produce NFC tags that show a smartphone user the profiles of individual diamonds. They will be printed on paper sold with diamonds wholesale or eventually on tags attached to rings in stores.

The technology could ease the work began in 2003 by the Kimberly Process, an international organization that oversees the diamond trade, and which goal is to eliminate from the market all blood diamonds—stones that fuel violent conflicts through their sale.

Currently, The KP works through a so-called “system of warranties,” whereby every government must provide a written guarantee that their diamonds are not involved in funding any conflict. The 81 participating countries, which account for roughly 99% of the world diamond trade, also only deal with each other.

However, the system is not exempt of fraud and fake certificates have been often found attached to diamonds sold in global markets. This, as the a Kimberley Process certificate does not apply to an individual diamond but to a group of rough stones which are then cut and shipped around the world. Without a tracking system, this is where the trail currently ends.


Henry Sapiecha

Swiss jeweller buys rights to $63M Constellation Lucara diamond

Cutting and polishing the 813-carat stone could result in one of the world’s largest flawless diamonds

lucara-813-ct-diamond image

The world’s most expensive rough diamond is now in the hands of De Grisogono, a Swiss luxury jeweller and watch maker.

Geneva-based De Grisogono purchased the rights to market Lucara Diamond’s (TSX:LUC) Constellation gem, which sold in May for a record $63 million, at the launch of the 28th Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris. The price was not disclosed.

The company entered into an agreement with Nemesis International when the Dubai-based corporation bought the 813-carat stone from Lucara, which recovered it last November from its Karowe mine in Botswana.

“I love her and I hate her. Love because something like this is so exceptional – I could never dream to be able to have a stone like this in my own hands – and hate her because I don’t know how I’m going to dress her.”

According to De Grisogono, cutting and polishing the Constellation – a process expected to take several months – could result in one of the world’s largest flawless diamonds. The impressive rock weighs 813 carats and measures six centimetres (2.4 inches) across. According to Nickolas Polak, international director of Nemesis, the diamond will be cut in Antwerp and is expected to produce the world’s largest D Flawless diamond, weighing between 300 carats and 350 carats, reported the fashion website WWD.

“(This is) the first time we’ve taken such a historic stone and had full creative freedom to do what we want with it,” CNN quotes De Grisogono CEO John Leitao, who added that the firm plans to transform Constellation into “a stone that rivals the crown jewels.” The company’s founder was even more colourful in his comments: “I love her and I hate her,” said Fawaz Gruosi. “Love because something like this is so exceptional – I could never dream to be able to have a stone like this in my own hands – and hate her because I don’t know how I’m going to dress her.”

Lucara made headlines with an even bigger diamond also dug from Karowe, the 1,109-carat “Lesedi La Rona”  (or “our light” in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana). However that stone, which was expected to fetch $70 million, failed to sell at auction and Lucara is still searching for a buyer.

De Grisogono also purchased the rights to market a 404-carat rough diamond from Nemesis International in May. According to Rapaport News, that stone was recovered by Lucapa Diamond Company (ASX:LOM) at its Lulo mine in Angola.

Three days ago Lucapa dug a 38.6-carat pink diamond, also from Lulo. The coloured stone is the largest “fancy” pink diamond recovered to date from the mine.  The Australian company reportedly sold it last week as part of a parcel of other rocks for a total of $5.8 million.


Henry Sapiecha



Lucapa finds another massive diamond at Lulo, biggest pink yet

lucapa-finds-another-massive-diamond-at-lulo-biggest-pink-yet image

Australian Lucapa Diamond (ASX:LOM) has unearthed yet another massive, this time a  38.6-carat pink diamond, at its Lulo project in Angola.

The coloured stone is the largest “fancy” pink diamond recovered to date from Lulo, surpassing the 28.5-carat, said the company, which sold it earlier this week as part of a parcel of other rocks for a total of $5.8 million.

The Lulo diamond project, located 150km from Alrosa’s Catoca mine, the world’s fourth largest diamond mine, hosts type-2a diamonds which account for less than 1% of global supply.

The 38.6-carat pink diamond was sold earlier this week as part of a parcel of other rocks for

a total of $5.8 million.

Lucapa holds a 35-year license for the project, which recently bore a 404.2-carat white diamond, considered the largest diamond ever recovered in Angola and the biggest diamond ever found by an Australian company.

Angola is the world’s No.4 diamond producer by value and No.6 by volume. Its industry, which began a century ago under Portuguese colonial rule, is successfully emerging from a long period of difficulty as a result of a civil war that ended in 2002.

Earlier this year, the government reduced taxes and cut state ownership requirements to rekindle the industry after the global financial crisis forced mines to close.

The world’s biggest pink diamond found to date was unearthed at Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine, weighing 13 carats.


Henry Sapiecha

Massive Cullinan Dream blue diamond fetches over $25m at auction

Price fetched makes it the most expensive fancy intense blue diamond ever sold at auction.


The Cullinan Dream in the rough.

A 24.18-carat intense blue diamond known as The Cullinan Dream has just sold for $25.4 million at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York, breaking all records and becoming the most expensive gem of its kind ever sold at auction.

The diamond, cut from a 122.52-carat rock found at Petra Diamond’s (LON:PDL) Cullinan mine in South Africa in 2014, is the largest of four blue diamonds made from the original.

The Cullinan Dream, a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut diamond, has been classified by the Gemological Institute of America as Type IIb. Those kinds of gems are very rare and account for less than one-half of 1% of all diamonds found in nature.

cullinam-dream-diamond-ring image

The Cullinan Dream is now a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut fancy intense blue diamond, weighing approximately 24.18 carats.

Type IIb gems contain a small amount of the element boron trapped in the crystal carbon structure during their formation that can give rise to a blue or grey coloration, Petra Diamonds said in a statement.

The mine is best known for the discovery of the Cullinan diamond, at 3,106 carats the largest rough diamond ever found. The gem was cut into two highly significant diamonds, which can be found in the British Crown Jewels.

Cullinan-Dream is now a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut fancy intense blue diamond, weighing approximately 24.18 carats.image

It is flanked on either side by a tapered baguette-cut diamond and set in a platinum ring, inscribed “Cullinan Dream”.

Since acquiring a majority stake in the mine in 2008, Petra Diamonds has found some high-profile blue diamonds, including “The Blue Moon of Josephine,” which sold in November for $48.5 million and “The Star of Josephine” — a 7.03 carat polished stone that sold in 2009 for $9.49 million, representing what at the time was a world record price per carat of $1.35 million.


Henry Sapiecha

Alrosa unearths 241.21-carat diamond, one of largest ever found in Russia

alrosa-unearths-241-21-carat-diamond-one-of-largest-ever-found-in-russia image

The diamond was found the Nyurbinsky open-pit mine, in Nakyn. (Image courtesy of ALROSA)

Russia’s Alrosa (MCX:ALRS), the world’s top diamond producer by output in carats, has unveiled the discovery of a 241.21-carat rough diamond at its Nyurbinsky open-pit mine.

The diamond is one of the largest ever recovered in Russia.

The precious rock, said the company, is one of the largest rough diamonds ever recovered in Russia and the third largest among those found by the company’s Nyurba Mining and Processing Division.

The massive diamond measures 38.64 mm by 27.34 mm by 25.46 mm, and is translucent with a grey hue. Traces of dissolution–etching channels and caverns–are observed on the surface.

The intermediate and peripheral zones have large cracks and the crystal contains graphite and sulphide inclusions, Alrosa said.

alrosa-241carats-diamond image

The massive diamond measures 38.64 mm by 27.34 mm by 25.46 mm, and is translucent with a grey hue. (Image courtesy of ALROSA)

The Nyurbinsky has been in operations since 2001. Identified reserves January last year amounted to 36.9 million carats.

The Nyurba Mining and Processing Division is one of Alrosa’s youngest divisions, in charge of the Nakyn ore field as well as the Nyurbinsky and Botuobinsky open-pit mines.

The state-owned diamond miner may be privatized as soon as this summer, Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday, according to Reuters.


Henry Sapiecha

Second largest diamond in the world does not reach reserve at auction

lesedi-la-Rona-main-tennis ball diamond

The world’s second largest diamond – the size of a tennis ball –  has failed to sell at Sotheby’s auction in London on Wednesday.


Initially valued at more than CAD$90million, the highest bid for the 1109-carat diamond reached only $61 million.


The diamond, dubbed ‘Lesedi La Rona’, was discovered at Lucara Diamond Corp’s Karowe mine in Botswana last year and translates to ‘our light’ in the local language.

lucara-huge diamond image

Its size is second only to the Cullinan diamond which was cut into nine pieces to form part of the UK crown jewels.


Henry Sapiecha

Petra finds yet another huge diamond at its very productive Cullinan mine

petra-finds-another-massive-diamond-at-its-cullinan-mine 121.26-carat white rock image

London-listed Petra Diamonds (LON:PDL), already known for its major findings of recent months, has just unearthed a 121.26-carat white rock from its Cullinan mine in South Africa.

The gem is a Type II diamond “of exceptional colour and clarity”, the company said, and is “an outstanding example of the large, high quality diamonds for which the mine is known.”

The 121.26-carat white diamond, along with a number of other high quality stones, will be sold in the last tender of Petra’ 2016 financial year.While Petra did not provide a value estimation, it did say the freshly found rock, along with a number of other high quality stones, will be sold in the last tender of its 2016 financial year.

Last week, a 24.18-carat intense blue diamond known as The Cullinan Dream, which Petra found in 2014, sold for $25.4 million in New York, breaking all records and becoming the most expensive gem of its kind ever sold at auction.

The Cullinan mine, located north-east of Pretoria, has yielded several massive gems, including the largest rough gem diamond ever discovered — the Cullinan. The 3,106-carat stone was cut into two highly significant diamonds, which can be found in the Crown Jewels of the Queen of England.

Petra, which operates four diamond mines in South Africa and one in Tanzania, posted a loss for the first half of its financial year in February, due to fewer sales demand and a glut of supply that pushed rough diamond prices down by 9%.

petra-diamonds-cullinan-mine image


Henry Sapiecha

‘Aurora Green’ diamond smashes records after fetching $16.8 million.Pics & story here.

aurora-green-diamond-smashes-records-after-fetching-16-8-million image

A 5.03-carat fancy vivid green diamond known as “Aurora Green” has set two world auction records for a stone of that colour Tuesday at Christie’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels sale, fetching over $16.8 million.

The rectangular-cut fancy rock had been valued at $16 million to $20 million and although it sold at the lower end of that range, it set a “world auction record for a green diamond and world record price per carat for a green diamond,” Christie’s said

aurora-green-diamond-ring image

The rectangular-cut fancy diamond had been valued at $16 million to $20 million. (Image courtesy of Christie’s)

The buyer was Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Jewellery, one of the world’s largest jewellery retailers.

The Aurora Green was the top lot of the sale and one of four lots that set world auction records. The sale totalled more than $85 million with 10 lots exceeding more than $1 million. Coloured diamonds, coloured gems and jadeite were among the top lots. A total of 72% of items were sold by lot and 73% by value.


Henry Sapiecha

Who stole this $5 million diamond-encrusted gold eagle statue? Video,Pics & Story


Canadian Police are looking into the robbery of an 18-pound, solid-gold, diamond-encrusted eagle statue in British Columbia, worth about $5 million according to the statue’s owner.

The golden statue was supposed to be the centrepiece of a campaign launched in conjunction with a series of books and events to raise money for cancer research.The statue, called The Maltese Eagle, was supposed to be the centrepiece for “The World’s Greatest Treasure Hunt: Quest for the Golden Eagle,” a campaign launched in conjunction with a series of books and events to raise money for cancer research, owner Ron Shore, who operates a telecommunications company, told CNN.

The eagle had been on display for four days at the Art! Vancouver exhibit and was in transit to a secret vault when the theft occurred on Sunday night.

Shore said he mortgaged his house and used inheritance money and credit cards to finance the making of the eagle.

“Unfortunately what will probably happen is that all of the jewels will be pulled out of the head because it had basically a cape of diamonds,” sculptor Kevin Peters, who spent nearly four years creating the statue, told NewsTalk 770. “And it has three types of gold and will be probably melted down.”

But taking the jewells off would be difficult, and a novice would likely end up breaking some of the gems, David Ritter, president of the Canadian Jewellers Association, told News 1130.

5-million-diamond-encrusted-gold-eagle-statue-stolen image

One of the largest gems present in the statue was the Atocha Star, a 12-carat emerald that was recovered in 1985 from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha, a Spanish treasure galleon that sank in 1622. The Atocha Star is itself estimated to be worth at least $3 million.

This is not the first time the eagle has been targeted. In a 2010 interview, Shore told The Vancouver Sun that RCMP accompanied him and the eagle to an event because of concerns organized crime elements might be looking to steal it.


Henry Sapiecha