Field Trip 06

Diamonds de Canada

Leaders: Derrick Sangris (Diamonds de Canada), Germán Villegas (Government of Northwest Territories)

Dates: Sunday 7 July 2024, Tuesday 9 July 2024 and Thursday 11 July 2024 (see Registration below for more details).

Duration: Approximately 1 hour at Diamonds de Canada facility, starting between 10:00 and 17:00. Please allow at least 90 minutes total time for the Field Trip (see Transport below for more details).

Location: Based in Yellowknife.

Registration: The registration fee is $50 CAD and it is open to all delegates as well as Accompanying Persons. The majority of the Field Trip 06 proceeds will be donated to Yellowknives Dene First Nation Education Bursary “YKDFN Education Bursary chosen by the Diamonds de Canada owner, Benjamin King. Each Field Trip 06 is limited to a maximum of 5 participants to allow both good viewing and time for questions. Multiple time slots will be offered in due course on the following days – Sunday 7 July, Tuesday 9 July and Thursday 11 July 2024. You can register for this Field Trip now to ensure that you secure your place as they are limited. 

Please note: Selection of the specific date and time will be made available upon the Technical Programme being finalised and published by 18 June 2024. All delegates who have registered for Field Trip 06 will receive an email with further instructions as soon as the FT06 Schedule is available to book.

Transport: The Diamonds de Canada facility is a 15 minute walk from the 12 IKC Venue where the Technical Sessions are being held. A 12 IKC representative will accompany each group from a meeting point at the Chateau Nova Hotel to Diamonds de Canada and back. Please allow at least 90 minutes total time for each Field Trip 06.

Accommodation: To be organised by delegate. This Field Trip on Sunday 7 July 2024 may require an additional nights’ accommodation but those taking place Tuesday 9 July 2024 and Thursday 11 July 2024 are during the main 12 IKC Conference week, and therefore, should not require additional accommodation. The 12 IKC preferred room rates at the three hotels are available for all the dates required to participate in FT06 so, if necessary, bookings for the main conference can be extended. See Accommodation Page for more details.

Description: The visit to Diamonds de Canada comprises two parts. First you will get a tour of the diamond manufacturing facility including the equipment and the process guided by Derrick Sangris. After that you will have the opportunity to see as well as buy rough diamonds from known mines such as Ekati, Diavik and Gahcho Kue.

The recently opened Diamonds de Canada facility in Yellowknife has the Approved Northwest Territory Diamond Manufacturer Designation. This was made possible by Synova’s invention of a groundbreaking machine called the Da Vinci and Benjamin Kingsley’s determination to open a diamond-cutting facility in remote areas where diamonds are mined. The introduction of the Da Vinci machine promised a nearly automated diamond-cutting process that would not only simplify things and, if the cutter could get diamonds directly from the mine, cut them in the area, and sell them directly, it would be easier to track the process and tell the incredible story the way it deserves to be told. Once again, diamonds can be mined, cut and polished all within the NWT.

King worked for two years with programmers, engineers, and mathematicians to develop a process that would allow the Da Vinci machine to communicate and work with other pieces of equipment to create a first-of-its-kind technology-driven diamond cutting solution. The rough diamond can be analysed, x-rayed, planned, and cut with minimal human intervention, leaving only the final polishing to be done by hand. King officially opened the Diamonds de Canada natural diamond cutting facility in Yellowknife in 2021 and proved that his one-of-a-kind process worked. Since the Diamonds de Canada facility did not rely on existing diamond-cutting experts, King could hire local and particularly indigenous residents of the Northwest Territories. The Operations Manager of the Diamonds de Canada facility is Derrick Sangris, a member of the Dene First Nation, a people indigenous to the area for over 30,000 years.

With the government of the Northwest Territories encouragement and approval, King revived the iconic Polar Bear logo, a brand owned by the Northwest Territories, that guarantees a diamond’s origin from the area. Diamonds de Canada now has the exclusive rights to this logo and King decided if Diamonds de Canada were to revive the Polar Bear diamond, they would only cut 16,000 diamonds, tied to the number of polar bears left in Canada. Each of the 16,000 would be a minimum of 1.50 carats and hand selected as a perfect representation of the diamonds from Canada. Once 16,000 diamonds are sold, no more would ever be cut. These exceedingly special Polar Bear diamonds began being cut for the first time in nearly twenty years. Every natural diamond has a remarkable story, and with Diamonds de Canada’s process, not a piece of their story is lost, even as the diamond is passed down from generation to generation.

This is a rare opportunity to see the Da Vinci machine in action and Derrick will be happy to answer all your questions.