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Buying Guide: Canadian Diamonds

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Canadian diamonds are marketed as exceptionally beautiful, conflict-free, and environmentally friendly.  Are they worth the hype though? In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about buying Canadian diamonds.
By Courtney Beck Antolik 6 minute read

Diamond Mining in Canada 

Ritani Canadian Diamond
This photo from Ritani shows what diamonds look like from the mine. Rough diamonds need to be cut and polished before they can be set in jewelry. Ritani can help you source a Canadian diamond via their Customer Concierge team.

Diamonds were first discovered in Canada in 1991. Today, Canada is the world’s third-largest producer of diamonds, behind Russia and Botswana. There are five major diamond mines in Canada: Ekati, Diavik, and Gahcho Kue in Northwest Territories; Victor in Ontario; and Renard in Quebec. Additional mining projects and historical mines are Jericho in Nunavut, Snap Lake in the Northwest Territories, and Star-Orion in Saskatchewan.

Diamond mining in Canada comes with unique challenges. The mines are located in remote, Arctic regions and are only accessible for a short time each year. In the winter, the lakes and rivers of far northern Canada freeze, forming roads. Truckers and mine staff can travel to and from the mines until the ice melts in the spring. For the rest of the year, the mines are only accessible by helicopter. 

What Are Canadian Diamonds?

0.92 ct D VVS2 A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Diamond side white flash
0.92 ct D VVS2 A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Diamond white flash

Some retailers say that Canadian diamonds have better sparkle, but the sparkle is determined by a diamond’s cut–not where it’s from. This 0.92-carat D color ideal cut diamond from Whiteflash has amazing sparkle, thanks to its excellent properties. 

Canadian diamonds are the stunning colorless diamonds mined in Canada. Fancy-colored diamonds are not commonly mined in Canada, although some yellow diamonds have been found at the Diavik mine and famous pink diamonds have been found at the Victor mine. 

Are Canadian diamonds different from diamonds in other countries? Physically, no. Canadian diamonds have the same composition and quality as diamonds found around the world. Some retailers will tell you that Canadian diamonds have better physical properties, but this is simply a marketing tactic. 

When it comes to evaluating a diamond’s physical properties, remember the 4C’s. Canadian diamonds are cut, polished, and graded according to the same lab standards as diamonds from any other country. 

For example, some retailers say that Canadian diamonds have better sparkle than other diamonds. A diamond’s sparkle is determined by the way the diamond interacts with light. Cut is the biggest factor when it comes to a diamond’s sparkle. Diamond color and clarity also influence the sparkle. 

An excellent cut diamond will have fantastic sparkle, no matter where it is from. Focus on the diamond’s cut, color, and clarity grades when you’re evaluating diamonds.

So, what sets Canadian diamonds apart? They are ethically and responsibly sourced. Mining is a well-established industry in Canada and the Canadian government has lots of rules in place to ensure safe and environmentally conscious diamond mining. Companies mining in Canada must complete lengthy environmental impact studies before beginning any operations. The mineworkers are paid fair wages and many mines employ local and indigenous populations, so the profits from diamond mines are kept within the community. 

Canadian diamonds are a great option if you’re looking for a responsibly sourced and conflict-free diamond. 

Is Your Diamond Actually from Canada?

canadian diamond stud earings blue nile
These ½-carat diamond studs from Blue Nile are authentic Canadian diamonds.

If you’ve decided to buy a Canadian diamond, there are a few ways to make sure you’re actually getting one. 

After they are mined, many Canadian diamonds are sent to other countries to be cut and polished. This is because there are very few diamond cutting and polishing labs in Canada. However, there are some diamonds cut and polished in Canada’s Northwest Territories. All of these diamonds are laser inscribed with an identification number and a maple leaf, indicating their Canadian origin. 

The Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct is another way to make sure your diamond is actually from Canada. All of the diamond mines in Canada abide by the code, which traces diamonds back to their mine of origin. If you want to buy a Canadian diamond, ask the retailer for authentication. Authentic Canadian diamonds will come with an identification number and a certificate showing where it was mined. 

Another way to make sure you’re buying an authentic Canadian diamond is by purchasing a Canadamark diamond. Canadamark diamonds have laser-inscribed serial numbers and certificates ensuring they are of Canadian origin. 

When it comes to buying a Canadian diamond, follow the same process you would when buying any other diamond. Carefully review the diamond’s grade, look at high-resolution pictures and videos of the diamond, and always ask for the certificate.   

Cost of Canadian Diamonds

0.91-Carat Emerald Cut Diamond Blue Nile
If you want a Canadian diamond but cost is a concern, consider an emerald-shaped diamond like this 0.91-carat F color diamond from Blue Nile. Emerald-shaped diamonds are less expensive than other shapes like round, marquise, and oval.

The other big difference with Canadian diamonds is the cost. Mining Canadian diamonds are expensive because the mines are so remote. Mining companies in Canada also pay fair wages and adhere to strict environmental practices, which drives up the mining cost.  You can expect to pay 10 – 20% more for a Canadian diamond because of this.

Is the cost worth it? If you are passionate about the environment and ethically sourced diamonds, absolutely. Canadian diamonds are beautiful and a responsible choice. 

Buying Canadian Diamonds 

Classic Halo Diamond Engagement Ring Blue Nile
Find this Ring at James AllenOn Blue Nile, you can customize one of their classic diamond engagement ring settings with your favorite diamond. Blue Nile sells Canadian diamonds and has plenty of settings to choose from, like this classic halo engagement ring.

If you want to buy a Canadian diamond, make sure you are working with a trusted, reputable retailer. Remember that Canadian diamonds are not physically different from other diamonds–always check the certificate and make sure you understand the diamond’s grade. 

The Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct and Canadamark websites have a list of retailers who sell authentic Canadian diamonds. This is a great place to start if you are set on a Canadian diamond. 

Another great way to buy Canadian diamonds is through online retailers like Whiteflash and Blue Nile. Both companies sell Canadian diamonds, as well as other responsibly and ethically sourced diamonds.  

Blue Nile has an entire collection of jewelry made from Canadian diamonds. Each of these diamonds comes with a certificate guaranteeing the diamond’s Canadian origin. The collection includes diamond stud earrings and drop pendant necklaces. A statement jewelry piece made with Canadian diamonds could be a great option if you want a Canadian diamond at a lower cost. 

Blue Nile’s loose diamond collection also has many Canadian diamonds to choose from. On the Blue Nile website, you can search for loose diamonds of every style. Blue Nile has detailed descriptions of all the diamond properties, along with high-resolution photos and certificates for each diamond. 

Whiteflash also sells conflict-free diamonds, including Canadian diamonds. On Whiteflash, you can search for individual diamonds that fit the exact specifications you want. All Whiteflash diamonds come with certificates and most have high-resolution photos and videos. 

Canadian diamonds are sustainably mined and just as stunning as any other diamond. If your dream diamond is ethical and conflict-free, a Canadian diamond is an excellent choice.