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North America's Biggest Diamond Unearthed In Northern Canada

Kitco News

Image Courtesy of Dominion Diamond Mines

(Kitco News) - Miners discovered a 552-carat yellow diamond in Canada’s North — the biggest diamond to have ever been unearthed in North America.

The discovery was made by Dominion Diamond Mines and Rio Tinto Group in the Diavik mine located in the Northwest Territories about 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

The newly discovered stone nearly triples the size of the previous record holder found in Canada — the 187.7-carat Foxfire, also mined at Diavik.

“This incredible discovery showcases what is truly spectacular about Canadamark diamonds,” Dominion chairman Kyle Washington said in a press release. “The color and texture of the diamond are a unique example of the journey that natural diamonds take from their formation until we unearth them. Our Diavik Mine has produced some of the most beautiful diamonds in the world, and this one certainly tops the list.”

The gem, which was uncovered in October, measures 33.74mm x 54.56mm, which is “completely unexpected for this part of the world”, according to the press release.

The diamond has gem quality, Dominion CEO Shane Durgin told Bloomberg last week. But, the potential value of the gem is still unclear.

“We can label it fancy yellow, but beyond that, due to its rough nature and the abrasions received through the processing facility, that’s all we can comment on,” Durgin said. “It’s very hard to give a ballpark estimate. It all depends on, again, the cutting and the resulting stone it ends up.”

Dominion will not sell the diamond in its rough form. Instead, the miner will be looking for a partner, who will be tasked with cutting and polishing the stone, the press release stated.

“The size and highly technical nature of this stone means that only a handful of master cutters in the world are qualified to polish it, ensuring that the stone’s beauty, color and brilliance are maximized,” it said.

The previous record holder — the Foxfire — was eventually auctioned off as two pear-shaped pieces for $1.3 million at Christie’s earlier this month.

Even though Dominion owns only 40% of the Diavik Diamond Mine, with Rio Tinto controlling the other 60%, Dominion acquired the diamond in an internal auction process.

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