De Beers Shares its Diamond Passion Through Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum Exhibit

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Ontario Mining Association member De Beers Canada is sharing its passion for diamonds through its sponsorship of an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.  “The Nature of Diamonds” exhibit is scheduled to be on display for all until March 22, 2009.  “For thousands of years, diamonds have held a special place in many cultures around the world,” said Jim Gowans, President and CEO of De Beers Canada.  “We are proud to be associated with the ROM to showcase the origins, history and allure of one of the rarest materials on earth.”

At a special event to mark the opening of the exhibit, recordings of Shirley Bassey singing the theme song from the James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever,” the presence of Canadian triathlon Olympian and medal winner Simon Whitfield and the opening of the vault to show the world´s third largest cut diamond and other spectacular gems and jewelry enhanced the celebrations.

The first diamond mine in Canada is celebrating its 10th anniversary of production this month.  Mr. Gowans pointed out that in that short time, Canada has advanced to become the third largest diamond producer in the world.  “Canada is now a diamond superpower,” said William Thorsell, Chief Executive Officer of the ROM.  “We are enjoying our relationship with De Beers Canada and (he suggested) I think we need to invent a single line of diamonds for men.”

“I am pleased to be standing here in this fantastic building at the ROM and I am proud that De Beers is a financial contributor to this exhibit,” said Mr. Gowans at the opening ceremony.  “De Beers has invested more than $2 billion in the Snap Lake mine in the Northwest Territories and the Victor Mine in Ontario, which both opened this year.  Snap Lake and Victor cement Canada´s position as the third largest producer of diamonds by value in the world.” 

“Financial contributions alone don´t make De Beers a leader in diamonds,” said Mr. Gowans.  “It is the commitment and passion of our employees, our environmental excellence and our commitment to academic uplift in the communities where we mine.”

For those with a historical and romantic bent, the exhibit shows that the tradition of diamonds as a symbol of love has its roots in Roman times.  One of the exhibits shows that in the 600s, Bishop Isadore of Seville, Spain, while not the beneficiary of a modern medical education, in speaking of a diamond engagement ring said “It is given by the spouser to the espoused whether for a sign of mutual fidelity or still more to join the hearts to this pledge and that therefore the ring is placed on the fourth finger because a certain vein is said to flow from there to the heart.”     

Congratulations to De Beers Canada for its sponsorship and support for “The Nature of Diamonds” exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.  It provides us all with an educational opportunity to better understand the geological origins of diamonds, their place in history, their fascination and why that engagement ring you are buying, or receiving, is so important. 

Mining companies in Ontario are responsible, solution-providing partners in society.  They do more than find, extract and process minerals essential to our modern society.  They are economic enterprises operated by men and women who are active members of society and community builders who add great value to the quality of life in areas where mining company employees and their families live.