MONTREAL. – The Gazette daily of Montreal, Canada, covered the story of Armenian diamond cutter Gevorg Mkhitaryan who, as part of a group of about sixty Armenian diamond cutters and polishers, was brought to the Canadian Northwest Territories to work in Yellowknife’s nascent diamond processing industry.
The daily notes that under Soviet rule, Armenia had become one of the ex-USSR’s main diamond processing centers and had developed world-class expertise in diamond cutting and polishing. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia fell on hard economic times.
With their skills in high demand everywhere from Botswana to Canada, however, Armenian diamond cutters joined the mass exodus of skilled workers from Armenia.
Mkhitaryan worked in Yellowknife for two years, but in 2003 he returned to Armenia to get married.
Then in 2006, Canada called again. He and twelve other Armenian diamond cutters were invited to work at a diamond processing plant in Matane, a small town on the Gaspé Peninsula, that was hoping to become the province of Quebec’s diamond processing capital.
Matane’s diamond dreams, however, vanished in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis that devastated parts of the diamond processing industry. The Diarough plant where Mkhitaryan was working shut down in 2009, and he moved his wife and his newborn daughter to Montreal.
Today, he is one of the five co-owners of Melisende Diamonds Ltd., a small diamond polishing operation that opened in 2010 with big dreams of becoming a major player in Canada’s emerging diamond processing industry.