Big Diamonds Under Big Skies
The only commercial diamond mine in the U.S. is doubling production
of its historically large stones
The first and only commercial diamond mine in the U.S. had its biggest
year yet -- quite literally -- in 1997 with a new line of jewelry and a
monumental discovery. Little more than a year after it commenced production
in summer '96, the Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine in Colorado turned up a stone
this past summer that became the largest polished diamond ever cut from
rough discovered in North America: a 16.87-ct. cushion-cut diamond faceted
by Y & M Diamonds in New York City. The discovery far exceeded the previous
record, held by the 12.4-ct. Uncle Sam diamond from Arkansas.
Unearthing the stone was an amazing event, say those present, but large
diamonds are not foreign to the Kelsey Lake mine, where 25% of the production
reveals diamonds that polish to 1 carat or more. "Some mines are just
known for larger stones," says Howard Coopersmith of Redaurum, the
Toronto-based company that operates the mine. When initially testing diamond
ore at the site in 1994, Redaurum discovered a 14.2-ct. rough diamond among
the test samples of large high-quality stones and later turned up rough
of more than 28 carats. "It's still a young mine, so we don't know
how large the stones that we find in the future will be," Coopersmith
So far, the diamonds have had a wonderful reception from the market.
Redaurum formed an exclusive contract with Colorado Diamonds of Boulder,
which has introduced a line of jewelry and handles all cutting and marketing
of the mine's production. The line is carried by only six authorized distributors,
all based in Colorado, but the geographical limitations aren't stopping
eager retailers from snapping up the designs. "The demand has been
swallowing up all of our production," says Coopersmith.
To keep up, Redaurum is making equipment upgrades to the mine to practically
double production in 1998. The mine is expected to produce 2,000 carats
a month this year, up from about 1,000 in 1997.
Authorized Distributors of Colorado Diamonds:
Master Goldsmiths, Boulder, CO; (303) 443-3424
Hyde Park, Denver, CO; (303) 755-3541
Weiss Jewelers, Greeley, CO; (970) 352-6580
Jewelry Emporium, Fort Collins, CO; (970) 226-5808
Megel & Graff, Colorado Springs, CO; (719) 632-2552
Armstrong Jewelers, Pueblo, CO; (719) 544-0195
by Stacey King
|This 28.30-ct. rough diamond comes from Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine in Colorado.|
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.