"It's not so secretive as it is exclusive knowledge," said Warren Boyd of Diamond International Limited (DICAN).
Every five weeks he
joins a troupe of nine men in Yellowknife to examine, classify and cost diamonds unearthed from two Northwest Territories mines.
Along with Boyd
, there are a handful of others including two Northern aboriginal trainee-gem evaluators.
"The strength of the technical team from WWW's side, the commitment to transfer knowledge and skills development in the North, and the aboriginal ownership was instrumental in us winning the bid proposal in 1998," said Boyd
of the joint venture partnership making up DICAN
Most of WWW's employees come from De Beers
-- the corporate diamond giant.One of its members was a statistical analyst on mine modelling for De Beers
came with skills not known by any other of the world's diamond evaluators.Another member was De Beers'
principal field buyer for diamonds in the Congo.
Diamond prices rise and fall month to month with the temperature of the market.The diamond graders check one another's work to try to keep the subjectivity within narrow bounds.
"Even amongst our team, we may have disputes over the value of diamonds," said Boyd
, pointing out that the value of a stone is based on how much they think someone will eventually pay for it.
That's where market intelligence comes into play.The diamond graders are constantly on the road between Moscow, Bombay, Israel and Antwerp -- staying in touch with the market and understanding what the prices are.DICAN
adjusts its pricing books according to the consumer demand -- understanding the market is WWW's forte. "They are the ones who consolidated the technical expertise on the team," said Boyd who is a gemologist and a geologist.
When the original federal diamond-grading contract was put out, he
was the only Canadian citizen who had diamond-grading knowledge.But even he
is fairly new to the game.
first started looking for information about the diamond industry, De Beers
closed the door.