BHP to Sell Ekati Brand Diamonds

April 12, 2001

BHP to Sell Ekati Brand Diamonds

BHP Diamonds Inc., operator of Canada's Ekati diamond mine, has launched a new line of diamonds named after the mine, Canada's Financial Post reports. The diamonds go on sale today and will be sold with a certificate of authenticity provided by the government of the Northwest Territories.

BHP is one of many diamond producers jumping on the branding bandwagon. De Beers recently announced it was joining with LVMH to sell De Beers-branded diamond jewelry, and there are numerous other diamond brands under development worldwide.

The Ekati diamonds are graded by the American Gem Society as triple Ideal and will fall into the top tier of the diamond retail market. Triple Ideal stones represent less than 1% of all polished diamonds and are rated as excellent in symmetry, proportion and polish. BHP will sell Ekati diamonds in the Canadian market to start, but may eventually distribute the brand internationally, the Financial Post reports. BHP formed an alliance with Yellowknife-based Arslanian Cutting Works, a subsidiary of Arslanian Cutting Works of Antwerp, to cut and polish the diamonds.

BHP plans to promote the Ekati diamonds by linking them with Canada's strong record on human rights. According to the Financial Post, BHP Vice President of External Affairs Graham Nichols says Ekati diamonds will be more closely tied with their place of origin than any diamonds in the world. BHP hopes this will boost Ekati diamond sales as people become more aware and concerned about buying conflict diamonds.

- by Julia M. Duncan