Canadian Diamonds Unearthed
A Tale of Canadian Diamonds in the Making
The journey to the first Canadian diamond discovery almost reads as fiction, but is in fact a true story of the underdog’s victory with close-call drama. Follow along for a history lesson on Canadian diamond mining, and learn how Canada has become a progressive leader in the industry.
The race to discover Canada’s first diamonds was something out of the movies, a race between the leading shark of the diamond industry, De Beers, versus independent geologists named Charles Fipke and Stewart Blusson.
Beginning in the early 1980s, the exploration took nearly a decade, with Fipke and Blusson flirting with bankruptcy. But what they lacked in money, they made up for in knowledge. Fipke and Blusson had what seemed like top secret insights, which contributed greatly to their competitive determination - they knew exactly where the diamonds would not be found. De Beers was completely oblivious to this information and, as a result, based their search in the wrong places.
What both teams were looking for was a vertical rock formation called a Kimberlite pipe, which is a remnant of a volcanic eruption taking place millennia ago and carries our most prized gemstone to the earth’s surface. Most importantly, a Kimberlite pipe confirms the potential for diamonds - without it, you won't find any.
In April of 1989, on what we have to assume was a cheerful spring day, it happened - Charles Fipke and Stewart Blusson made the gratifying discovery of the Kimberlite pipe. What made this discovery even more rewarding was that Charles and Stewart found it exactly one day before they would have been forced to declare bankruptcy (talk about a close call). In the movie version of the story, "Diamond Mine" by Canada's own Blue Rodeo would be playing in the background as the discovery was made - all in slow motion.
This discovery became Canada’s first-ever source for diamonds, soon to be named the Ekati mine. Approximately 9 years later, in October of 1998, the mine was fully operational, and the Canadian diamonds came rolling in!
Now that we dazzled your mind with the thought of Canadian diamond sparkle, let’s get back to business and talk accountability. As many are familiar, the Kimberly Process is an initiative founded in Antwerp to ensure that diamonds traded in participating countries do not fund terrorism, putting an end to conflict diamonds in the global market. While this was a major step in a more ethical direction for the industry, the Canadian government has committed to furthering moral steps in our own diamond mining process. Benefitting the local communities and minimally impacting the environment are significant measures. For instance, the Tlicho Tribe, also known as the Dogribs, signed what is called the Tlicho Agreement with the Canadian government in 2003 to ensure that the Tlicho people receive 2% of the royalties from the mines in the Northwest Territories as well as royalties from any new mines in the designated area. Additionally, all mining companies must agree to restore the habitat to its original state when the mine has reached its full lifespan. Job opportunities opened up for local residents, with a large number of employment going to indigenous people.
More specifically, a Canadian diamond mine that Misfit Diamonds is proud to be sourcing raw materials from is the Gacho Kué, also located in the Nothwest Territories. Operated by Mountain Province Diamonds in a joint venture with De Beers, this partnership combines mining expertise with social responsibility quite efficiently. Mountain Province Diamonds brings socioeconomic and environmental measures to the table, and their transparency provides trust that we can stand behind.
To get into the specifics of Mountain Province Diamond’s proven accountability, they have a number of initiatives in place, and we would very much like to highlight a few.
Prioritizing local purchasing and investing in community development through their philanthropic program is a meaningful start to making a social impact. Indigenous-owned businesses receive the highest priority; as per the Gahcho Kué Socioeconomic Agreement, targets are tracked as a % of total procurement.
Local and Indigenous hiring is prioritized at the Gahcho Kué mine, with Indigenous representation taking precedence. Additionally, the leadership team and Board of Directors at Mountain Province Diamonds consists of underrepresented groups, including women, persons of colour, persons with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The land in which Mountain Province Diamonds operates is respected, recognizing that it supports vegetation, wildlife, and the overall wellbeing of local indigenous communities. Collaborative efforts are made with local communities, technical experts, and regulatory authorities to ensure the long-term health of the ecosystem.
Misfit Diamonds is striving to become a leader in conscientious diamond sourcing, we wholeheartedly believe the first step in transparency is documented origin. When it comes to ethics in the diamond industry, we certainly have a long way to go, but we can also recognize how far we have come.
Our raw diamond material sourced straight from the Gacho Kué mine has been transformed into original custom shapes, showcasing each diamond's natural allure by the true artistry and craftsmanship of diamond cutting. We invite you to view our exquisite collection of Canadian origin diamonds.