North Arrow Minerals Inc. is pleased to report that yellow diamonds from the Q1-4 kimberlite contain un-aggregated nitrogen, a defining characteristic of rare, natural Type Ib diamonds with fancy "Canary Yellow" colours.
Type Ib diamonds are exceptionally rare, estimated to make up less than 0.1% of natural diamonds globally. The Q1-4 kimberlite is located within the Qilalugaq Diamond Project, just nine kilometres from the Hamlet of Naujaat (Repulse Bay), Nunavut.
The results reported in this news release are based on FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared) analyses of 41 representative yellow diamonds from the Q1-4 kimberlite. The diamonds studied by this non-destructive technique range in colour from very pale yellow through intense yellow and all but one of the diamonds were determined to contain un-aggregated nitrogen, characteristic of "Type Ib" diamonds. Un-aggregated nitrogen occurs as single, randomly distributed nitrogen atoms and strongly absorbs blue and violet light. As a result of this strong absorption, even relatively minor amounts of un-aggregated nitrogen can lead to intense yellow colours commonly referred to as "Canary Yellow" in the gem trade. The study was conducted by Apex Geoscience Ltd. at the University of Alberta's Diamond Research Laboratory.
Ken Armstrong, President and CEO of North Arrow, commented, "This study has confirmed that the intense yellow colours seen within the Q1-4 diamond parcel are consistent with highly coveted canary yellow diamonds. While all of the yellow diamonds recovered from the Q1-4 kimberlite will not qualify as fancy yellow colours, it is extremely unusual to have such a high proportion of diamonds tested from one locality report as Type Ib diamonds and this is important information to have in advance of the upcoming Q1-4 diamond valuation process."
Nitrogen impurities are common and found in approximately 98% of all natural diamonds. Such diamonds are classified as "Type I" diamonds. The vast majority of Type I diamonds are further subclassified as "Type Ia" diamonds, in which the nitrogen is aggregated into groups of two or more atoms. Type Ia diamonds can vary from clear/colourless to a range of different colours, including yellow. However, diamonds containing a Type Ib component (i.e. containing randomly distributed "un-aggregated" nitrogen, like those identified from the Q1-4 kimberlite) are exceptionally rare, making up less than 0.1% of natural diamonds. Mr. Armstrong continued, "In fact, less than 1% of over 24,000 fancy yellow diamonds investigated by the Gemological Institute of America as part of a 2005 study were classified as Type Ib diamonds, indicating that Type Ib diamonds are rare, even among natural fancy yellow diamonds. This rarity highlights the significance of today's result: all but one of the analyzed Q1-4 yellow diamonds contain un-aggregated nitrogen and yellow diamonds make up over 21%, by carat weight, of the diamonds recovered so far from the Q1-4 bulk sample [please see news release from February 26, 2015 for details on the bulk sample and results reported to date]."
North Arrow is also pleased to report that final processing and diamond sorting of the Q1-4 bulk sample is on track for completion in late April with a formal valuation of the resultant diamond parcel to be conducted shortly thereafter.
North Arrow is working to earn an 80% interest in the Qilalugaq Diamond Project from Stornoway, subject to a one-time back-in right of Stornoway's, by collecting and processing the current bulk sample (please see North Arrow news release dated April 29th, 2013 for additional details on the option agreement with Stornoway).