2016 Forevermark Carat Club Visits De Beers' Victor MineAugust 29, 16
(IDEX Online News) – The inaugural members of the 2016 Forevermark Carat Club set off for the De Beers Victor mine in Northern Ontario in Canada on August 17 where they experienced the journey of a Forevermark diamond first-hand.
Launched in 2015, the Forevermark Carat Club recognizes the top Forevermark sales ambassadors annually from across the United States. The 17 inaugural Carat Club members sold in excess of 20 carats of one-carat and above Forevermark diamonds in 2015, earning them a seat on the exclusive voyage to Ontario’s first diamond mine.
“We are delighted to honor our inaugural members of the Forevermark Carat Club with the opportunity to visit our Victor mine,” said Charles Stanley, President of Forevermark US. “Our core values of quality, integrity, and commitment to responsible sourcing begin at the mining level, the birthplace of a Forevermark diamond, and the world-class operation at Victor is a shining example.”
During the visit to Victor, Carat Club members received training on the mine’s rigorous safety standards, which recently earned it the prestigious John T. Ryan National Safety Award, Canada's most celebrated award for mine safety. Following training, the group experienced the sheer magnitude of the effort that it takes to bring one of nature’s treasures to life as they toured the open-pit mine site and process plant where more than 5.6 million carats have been recovered since the mine opened in 2008. The tour ended with a viewing of some of Victor’s run-of-mine rough diamonds, which are among the finest quality diamonds produced by any mine in the world.
“I have been in this industry over 40 years, and as a gemologist, I know what goes into bringing the beauty of a diamond to life, but to experience it in person is truly awakening,” said Carat Club achiever Paul Minton, of B.C. Clark Jewelers in Oklahoma City, OK. “From the Forevermark standpoint, the enthusiasm is infectious. To visit Victor and see the passion that everyone has from the safety of their employees, to overall quality, integrity, and environmental standards provides a sense of pride and ownership in this magnificent process, which we will pass onto our staff and clientele in our stores.”
As part of De Beers’ commitment to sustainable development in local communities, approximately 35% of the employees at Victor, including De Beers and long-term service contractor employees, are from local First Nation communities. Ceremonial Shabatowans, or traditional teepees, were built on-site at Victor so Aboriginal employees can celebrate their heritage with traditional cultural ceremonies. Carat Club members also visited a site where the Victor mine environmental team recently planted saplings indigenous to the area, as part of Victor’s rehabilitation program following the mine’s eventual closure. These activities are examples of Forevermark’s commitment to the protection of nature and support of local communities as part of the De Beers Group of Companies.
Following the trip to Victor mine, Carat Club achievers flew to Sudbury, where they visited Forevermark Diamantaire Crossworks Manufacturing’s state-of-the-art cutting and polishing factory. Here, they experienced the next steps following the mine in the life of a Forevermark diamond. While Crossworks’ expert craftsmen cut and polished diamonds, some fresh out of Victor mine, Carat Club members learned about the rigorous process of cutting and polishing a diamond to exacting Forevermark standards. Carat Club members also got to try their hands at the polishing wheel and feel what it takes to achieve the perfect combination of touch, angle, and rhythm to polish a facet on a diamond.
“The team at Crossworks really provided us with a clear understanding of where the beauty of a diamond comes from and what it takes to unlock that beauty,” said Robert Fontenot, Carat Club achiever of Diamond District in Estero, FL said of the experience. “Most of the master craftsmen employed at Crossworks have a minimum of 20 years of experience expertly cutting and polishing by hand. This level of expertise, care, and precision is essential to meet the beauty standards of a Forevermark diamond.”
In addition to the trip, Carat Club Members were also presented with a Forevermark diamond pin presented by Charles Stanley and Stephen Lussier, Forevermark CEO and De Beers Group EVP, during the induction ceremony held this past April at Forevermark’s Annual Forum in Phoenix, AZ.
The 2017 Carat Club incentive program will run through the end of this year and sales ambassadors will be required to sell 35 carats or more of one-carat plus Forevermark diamonds. The top 20 achievers will receive an exclusive trip to London to visit the Forevermark headquarters. They will also visit the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels as well as experience an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Forevermark Diamond Institute in Antwerp, Belgium.