Windsor

1st Ontario diamonds to go on sale

Starting next week, Ontarians can show their love with a homegrown diamond — if they can afford it.

Ontario diamonds cost 10 to 15 per cent more

Starting next week, Ontarians can show their love with a homegrown diamond — if they can afford it.

Some of the first diamonds to be mined in Ontario will go on sale at Birks' flagship store in downtown Toronto on Monday.

The 100 Ontario-certified gems are extremely high-quality, with a retail value that's 10 to 15 per cent higher than other diamonds because they are mined and processed in one place.

This mace made a sparkling entrance at the Ontario legislature in March 2009, featuring diamonds mined from DeBeers' Victor Mine in northern Ontario. ((Canadian Press))
Mining Minister Michael Gravelle says shoppers who buy the sparkling rocks will be supporting Ontario's diamond industry — one of the few in the world that can take the diamonds from the mine to a store within one province.

It's the first batch available from DeBeers Canada's Victor Mine,  which began operations near Attawapiskat in northern Ontario in 2008.

The glittering gems will be available in Toronto until May 1st, when they will travel around Canada to be exhibited in other major cities.

But this won't be the first time Ontario has shown off its gems. Victor crystals made a sparkling entrance at the Ontario legislature as part of a diamond-studded mace in spring 2009.

The Victor Mine is expected to produce about 600,000 carats of diamonds each year during its projected 12-year lifespan.

It's the province's first diamond mine and DeBeers' second in Canada, after the Snap Lake mine in the Northwest Territories.

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