Saskatchewan diamond cutter works on rare gem valued at over $1M

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – There is nothing quite like it. A diamond discovered in Arkansas is believed to be the most expensive crystal that country has ever seen.

The stone has also spent time right here in Saskatchewan at a facility in Prince Albert.

Behind closed doors, there are diamonds of all shapes  and sizes including the 147 facet triolette shaped finished diamond known as the “Esperanza.”

“The lady that found it, named it after a niece,” said Mike Botha, master diamond cutter at Embee Diamond Technologies.

“The niece’s name is Esperanza which means ‘hope’ in Spanish.”

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    At 8.52 carats in it’s rough form, the icicle-like stone was then polished down to a 4.6-carat finished diamond. It’s believed to be one of the rarest in North America and the fourth largest finished American diamond.

    “It’s the most pristine crystal I’ve ever laid eyes on in my life.”

    Perfectly coloured and internally flawless, the diamond’s absolute absence of nitrogen made it difficult to work with, said Botha. Nitrogen not only turns a diamond yellow in colour, it also makes it softer and therefore easier to cut.

    “That diamond took over 100 hours to cut but then we had to do amelioration on the finish of the diamond and took another 80 hours so a total of 180 hours.”

    WATCH: Mike Botha cutting the diamond

    If cut incorrectly, there was the potential the diamond could shatter during the crafting process. So the use of 3D modelling was crucial for what seemed like the most daunting task even for a diamond cutter with nearly five decades of experience.

    “I cut the diamond probably 100 times in mind my before I actually put the first facet on the diamond.”

    Valued at over a million dollars, not much can be disclosed about the diamond’s buyer or it’s final price tag.

    “It’s a North American individual or a company in this case,” said Evert Botha, Mike’s son and chief operating officer of Embee Diamond Technologies.

    “It’s not the Kardashians,” he said with a laugh.

    As attached as these men are to the rock, the logistics behind the scenes has been a bit of a nightmare.

    “We have our own procedures which we obviously can’t discuss, we’re secure where we are, she’s obviously been insured to the hilt,” said Evert.

    Esperanza is now somewhere else in the world, safe and secure.

    The team at Embee Diamond Technologies plans to taking a break over the summer before tackling something else out of the ordinary so they can get some much needed sleep.

    “We look forward to not having to worry about her every night,” said Evert.

    WATCH: The transformation of the Esperanza Diamond mini-documentary