Canada unearths the largest diamond ever found in North America

A 552-carat yellow diamond was found at the Diavik mine in the Northwest Territories, Canada and is nearly three times the size of the next largest stone ever found in Canada. Diavik and the neighbouring Ekati mine are known to produce some very high-quality diamonds, though not normally the size of those found in southern African mines.

The discovery is the seventh-biggest this century and among the thirty largest stones ever unearthed. The biggest was the 3,106-carat Cullinan, found near Pretoria in South Africa in 1905. It was cut into several polished gems, the two largest of which (the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa) are set in the Crown Jewels of Britain.

Yellow diamonds typically sell at a discount to Type IIa top white diamonds, often found in the best African mines, but can still sell for a premium. Dominion Chief Executive Officer Shane Durgin said the diamond is gem quality, meaning it’s suitable for jewelry, but regarding its could not determine an estimate. Mr. Durgin said it was somewhat of a “miracle” that the stone survived the mining process, as “It’s very unusual for a diamond of this size in this part of the world. So, it’s a very unique discovery.

Diamond mining in this area of Canada’s sub-arctic is incredibly difficult because there are no permanent roads, meaning the only access is by air or, for a few months a year, ice roads that have to be rebuilt each winter. The diamond market has also been under pressure, especially for smaller and lower quality stones and there’s currently an oversupply of such diamonds. A weaker Indian rupee has put pressure on manufacturers in the country, where 90 percent of gems are cut and polished. Major cutting centres have also been squeezed by low margins and a drop in trade finance.