130 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the ground is blanketed in snow and ice. Even in May, the landscape is more water than land. Sixty million years ago, the area saw a scene of utter devastation all of a sudden. There’s ash everywhere, it looks like the apocalypse and there’s these holes too, you know, down to the bowels of the earth. Uric Innokin is a geophysicist at the Diavik diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories which is operated by Rio Tinto.
The holes he’s describing were made when molten rock or kimberlite squeezed through cracks in the oldest rock on earth and exploded spectacularly. It’s going to be going kilometers up in the air, it’s going to wipe everything out and then it’s just going to stop when conditions are just right.
Diamonds will hitch a ride with kimberlite at Diavik. One of those diamonds was a whopper, it ended up where most kimberlite diamonds in the subarctic end up. After glaciers scour the land beneath a lake we knew the diamonds were under there, but we needed to be in dry conditions. The only way we could do that is by building dikes around them and then draining all of the water within those dikes. Million metric tonnes of ore are processed here annually.
Last year that yielded 6.4 million carats but since the mine began, there’s only been one Foxfire probably every half a minute is going to be a diamond coming. Chances of a large diamond Foxfire is 187 point seven carats because a diamond that size was considered so unlikely to be found. The mine is configured to crush anything over an inch. Foxfire escape to crushers turning sideways and slipping through a screen to end up in one of these buckets.
It’s a long way from a bucket in Canada’s north to Fifth Avenue where New York buyers are getting their first glimpse of Foxfire. We have two clients who are very interested in this diamond. One of them is interested in keeping it in its current form. They want to keep it as a piece of rough, the other one is very interested in making it into a pendant. A pendant that could be more than a hundred carats. Uncut Foxfire is expected to fetch between five and ten million dollars, that’s a fraction of the 63 million dollars this 813 carat diamond found by luc ara diamonds in Botswana sold for earlier this month.
With only a handful of diamond mines operating in Canada and Diavik scheduled to close in 2024 it’s hoped buyers will pay a premium for a piece of North American history they call this the barren lands that a diamond like Foxfire destined to be a beautiful indulgence could be found here beneath a frozen lake on one of the harshest landscapes on earth is something of a miracle odds are it won’t happen twice Danielle Bokova Bloomberg at the Diavik mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories