Professional Jeweler Archive: Canadian Ice

September 2002


Canadian Ice

Canadian diamonds, like the newly launched Canadia™ brand, are a sweet deal for U.S. retailers

‘For jewelers who are marketers by nature, the arctic imagery of Canadian ice – its diamonds, of course – is something fresh and unprecedented.” Strong words from diamond dealer Oren Sofer, whose experience selling diamonds from varied and sundry sources spans three decades. His company, Beny Sofer & Sons LLC, New York City, sells diamonds to the trade, and its new Canadia™ brand is achieving unparalleled success.

“Until now we’ve resisted the temptation to brand just another facet change, a new name, a new manipulation,” he says. “But diamonds of Canadian origin, with all the proper certificates to back them up, can make a retailer puff up his chest and be the good guy for consumers concerned about origin.”

Retailer John Bagsharian of Earth Treasures Jewelers, Eatontown, NJ, is glad to have a piece of the Canadian pie. “Canadia diamonds are exciting because they foretell the excitement we’ll see when Canada’s many mines and manufacturers become more productive,” he says. “They also are beautifully cut [most are cut to American Gem Society Triple 000 standards, the highest in that grading system], have high color and clarity grades, and have a purely North American pedigree. Since 9/11, ‘Buy American’ carries a lot of weight.”

Implicit in the message is the notion diamonds from Canada are far from areas of controversy and conflict. “We tell our customers this is the only diamond they know exactly where it came from,” says Phil Burton of Burton Jewelers, an AGS member store in Anacortes, WA.

Canada Born and Bred

Canadia brand diamonds are mined at Canada’s first operational mine, Ekati; are cut at Arslanian Cutting Works in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada; and come with a certificate of authenticity certifying they were mined, cut and polished in Canada. The certificate bears a number that corresponds with a number engraved on the girdle, a registered Gemprint (a fingerprinting system to cross-reference and identify diamonds) and information about its measurements. The diamonds also have a laser-engraved maple leaf, (a logo designed by the government) on the girdle.

Sofer offers participating retailers exclusivity and a comprehensive marketing plan with showcase displays, brochures, ad slicks and radio spots.

“We put newspaper ads in our local papers regularly,” says Burton, “and as a result I ended up giving a presentation about Canadian diamonds to an elementary school class. It led to a bunch of free publicity.”

u Canadia Diamonds, Beny Sofer & Sons, New York City; (800) 307-6337,

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Canadia ™ diamonds are available in princess and round cuts; other cuts are planned for the future.

Photo by Robert Weldon.

A maple leaf logo, designed by the government of the Northwest Territories, adorns one side of each Canadia diamond’s girdle.

Photo by Robert Weldon.

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications