Barker & Co. To Distribute Ekati Diamonds
North American diamonds debut in the U.S.
Barker & Co. of Scottsdale, AZ, and Sirius Diamonds Ltd. of Vancouver,
British Columbia, Canada, have formed a partnership to distribute diamonds
from Canada's Ekati mine in the United States.
"The North American origin of the diamonds will be a major marketing
angle benefiting jewelers," says Bill Barker of Barker & Co. and
Craig de Gruchy of Sirius. To underscore the North American origin, a polar
bear logo is lasered on the diamonds' girdles.
Cut diamonds from the partnership became available in February. Barker
says prices are comparable to those of diamonds from other world sources.
Depending on cutting and production efficiencies, prices actually could
become more attractive and competitive in the future, adds de Gruchy.
Barker & Co., primarily a colored gemstone operation, was chosen
as a distributor for most of North America because of its high ethical standards
and previous experience marketing diamonds, says de Gruchy. David Glenn
of The Color Connection, Seattle, WA, will distribute the diamonds in Washington
Sirius Diamonds Ltd., meanwhile, is a diamond-cutting operation that
Broken Hill Proprietary chose as a direct purchaser of rough diamonds from
its Ekati property in Canada's Northwest Territories. The company, already
cutting diamonds in Canada, is building a new cutting facility in nearby
Yellowknife. The facility will employ and train local cutters. "We
want everything from the mine to the cutting to be a North American
product," says de Gruchy.
The company is cutting primarily round brilliants in Ideal makes (Tolkowsky
standards) and "fine" makes, which have slightly broader proportions.
De Gruchy says the company is issuing certificates from the Gemological
Institute of America Gem Trade Laboratory for fine makes and from the American
Gem Society Laboratory for diamonds cut to Ideal standards.
De Gruchy says his company is service-oriented and does not want to penalize
smaller accounts. "We want North American diamonds to be available
to any interested parties," he says.
- Barker & Co, Scottsdale, AZ; (602) 483-1403.
- The Color Connection, Seattle, WA; (206) 624-2522.
by Robert Weldon, G.G.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.