Polar ice
The choice of lovers in for the long haul

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

Though they often outlive the couples themselves, diamonds have come to symbolize the love that binds marriages.

More and more, Northern diamonds crown engagement rings exchanged by North American couples intent on tying the knot.

"We're currently getting 20-30 stones a day here and to this point they're selling as quickly as they arrive," said Sirius Diamonds president Stephen Ben-Oliel.

Sirius cuts and polishes rough stones from Canada's first diamond mine, BHP's Ekati, at its factory near the Yellowknife Airport. From there, they are shipped to the Sirius office in Vancouver. The company sells the loose polished gems to jewellers across Canada and in the United States.

"We've got 1,000 customers coast to coast," said Ben-Oliel. "Not every one of them has Canadian diamonds, but most can't get enough of them."

Eldonn Jewellery in Yellowknife is among those retailers. Sales representative Hugh Graham said wedding sets of Yellowknife gold and Canadian diamonds are one of the most popular presentations.

Ranging in price from $500 to $40,000, the sets appeal to a wide range of customers.

Graham said in the short time the store has been selling them, Northern diamonds have become by far the most popular stones the store sells.

"They outsell diamonds from anywhere else 10-1," said Graham. "I get requests for them over the Internet from places like Spain and Germany."

Graham said dealing directly with the diamond manufacturers translates into great value for Yellowknife diamond purchasers. He praised the service his store gets from Sirius.

"We have a very good relationship with the cutter, us and Sasha's are number one on their list. Any time I need a certain diamond, I call them up and usually get it right away."