Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Canadian diamond fetches record price

A huge rough diamond, billed as the most significant find in the 13-year history of Canada's Ekati mine, was auctioned off in Belgium this week for a reported $2.8 million.

The 78-carat diamond from BHP Billiton's Ekati mine in the Northwest Territories was sold in Antwerp on Monday, Valentine's Day.

The company would not disclose the buyer of the diamond, called the "Ekati Spirit."

BHP Billiton invited a select group of about 70 buyers to the sale of the diamond, which was found in October 2010.

"The diamond is a breathtaking example of the stunning gem-quality diamonds produced at Ekati and potentially the most valuable stone in the mine's 13-year history," BHP said in a news release.

The diamond, which measures 21 by 18 by 13 millimetres, is not the largest to come from the mine, however. Two years ago, a 182-carat diamond was found, but it lacked the clarity, carats and colour of the one sold Monday.

A pear-shaped, 10.22-carat gem from Ekati had held the Canadian record of $1.2 million at auction.

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