PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — An increasing demand for Canadian diamonds means better business for Prince Albert-based Embee Diamonds.
A greater number of consumers across North America want the diamonds, not only to be mined in Canada, but to be cut and polished in this country as well.
“They want to have the provenance guarantee that it didn’t go to a sweat shop anywhere else in the world, it was done in a responsible manner.
“A lot of those clients out there want a stone with a little bit of an ethical story as well,” said Mike Botha, CEO of Embee Diamonds.
“We are starting to get orders for Canadian diamonds out of Belgium. Can you believe it? Mined, cut and polished in Canada to be sold to a Belgium company? That is totally going against the flow of diamonds.”
Antwerp in Belgium is one of the centres of the diamond trade worldwide. It’s exciting to have a demand for Canadian diamonds out of that location, Botha said.
Last month another Canadian company, Polar Ice Diamonds of Canada, entered receivership. According to legal documents the company owes $42 million to more than 30 creditors around the world.
The removal of a large player in the Canadian diamond industry is turning more heads towards Embee Diamonds.
“What it will do is create more opportunity for us. Are we ready to do that, to follow those shoes, I don’t think so, but we can put that to good advantage,” Botha said.
“We’ve had some reports from jewellers that are making space for our products, that’s all we can say.”
Embee Diamonds is one of two companies in Canada that can say they cut and polish diamonds mined in Canada, Botha said. The other is in Sudbury, Ont.
This increasing demand is causing Embee Diamonds to grow quickly.
“We started with one employee in April and we are on seven now, in total. We can’t help that, people want our product and we have to respond accordingly and employ more people and get more production out,” Botha said.
There is a growing pool of diamond cutters in Canada, said Evert Botha, business development manager for Embee Diamonds.
“I think that pool is big enough for us to hand-pick the best there is, without the need to look offshore,” he said.
The company expects to increase the staff by an additional three employees by their one-year anniversary, next April.