Last week I was one of about 25 jewellers from across Canada that received a tour of the Victor diamond mine in Northern Ontario, just below James Bay. This mine is owned and operated by De Beers, and well, needless to say, security is paramount. Getting to the Victor mine is one thing (chartering a private jet that can land on a gravel runway), but getting into the mine is very rare indeed.
I was fortunate to see the entire process for how diamonds are found, from when they are blasted out of the earth in diamond bearing Kimberlite, to when they are ultimately polished in Sudbury, Ontario. That is to say, this is the process that will be used for all of the Forevermark diamonds that Canada will be getting this fall.
The really cool thing about the Victor mine is how they are trying to minimize their ecological footprint. You might think that ripping a gigantic hole in the earth is not exactly good for the planet, but you need to know that everything they do, they plan to put back. All the rock they move is stored so it can be replaced into the earth, as well as the topsoil and muskeg. Everything they can recycle they do, almost half the workforce is First Nations people from the surrounding area, they have agreements with many of the tribes about how to treat the land, and they minimize as much waste as possible.
The tour also included a stop in Sudbury where they actually polish the rough diamond taken from Victor into the finished diamond you will see in our stores shortly. This was a really cool experience, and they even allowed me to polish one of the diamonds! We saw how they analyze the rough to maximize the size of the diamond, to the bruting and laser cutting process, and finally the polishing of the diamond. We also got to see and handle a beautiful 36ct rough diamond taken from the Victor mine!
Needless to say, the trip was an incredible experience, one that will stay with me for life. And if you are interested in more information about the Victor mine or the cutting/polishing facilities in Sudbury, please give us a call! 204-774-5544.