By Jesse Robitaille
A pair of coins, one featuring a 0.20-carat diamond, round out the Royal Canadian Mint’s 2020 issues.
Released on Dec. 1 as part of the Mint’s final numismatic catalogue of the year, the coins include a $20 Fine silver piece, “Iconic Maple Leaves,” plus a $200 ultra-high relief pure gold coin from the “Purely Brilliant Collection.”
The latter issue, featuring a Forevermark Black Label diamond in the centre of the reverse, is struck in 99.999 per cent gold, which is also known as “Five Nines,” the highest gold purity in the world. The diamond features the “classic round-cut shape that optimizes sparkle,” according to a statement issued by the Mint in late November.
“In partnership with Canada’s premier diamond dealer, Crossworks Manufacturing, our Purely Brilliant collection is a sparkling showcase of supreme Canadian craftsmanship,” reads the Mint statement. “Each coin features world-class engraving and a Forevermark Black Label diamond in a patented cut that unleashes the spectacular beauty and fire within.”
The diamond was sourced from the Victor Diamond Mine located in Kenora, Ont., about 100 kilometres west of Attawapiskat, on the traditional land of the Attawapiskat First Nation.
Designed by Chris Reid and Rosina Li, of Toronto’s 3 Degrees Creative, the coin has a mintage of just 350 pieces. It weighs 33.17 grams with a 30-millimetre diameter and serrated edges, and it’s packaged in a wood case with a graphic beauty box.
“For the second instalment of the Purely Brilliant Collection, we focused on interpreting the shape of the round cut diamond and the way the intricate cuts produce elegant patterns of reflected light,” Li is quoted as saying on the Mint website. “We took that interplay and expanded it outwards in a circular pattern that surrounds the inset diamond. This artistic interpretation presents the coin as a precious keepsake that could also be worn as a piece of jewellery.”
On the other crown side facets, the year “2020,” the word “CANADA” and the face value “500 DOLLARS” surround the obverse engraved on the table, which features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
Since 2017, the Mint has issued at least half a dozen coins featuring Forevermark diamonds.
‘ICONIC MAPLE LEAVES’
The other December issue celebrates the historic maple leaves featured on Canada’s first coinage issue in 1870.
The scallop-shaped coin is struck in 99.99 per cent silver but is fully gold-plated to appear as a gold coin. Its reverse design – featuring 150-year-old work by engraved Leonard Wyon – depicts the crossed maple boughs appearing on all four denominations (five cents, 10 cents, 25 cents and 50 cents) issued by Canada 150 years ago.
A Masters Club exclusive, it’s the third coin in an annual series launched in 2018 and only available to members of the Mint’s points-based loyalty program.
The series’ first coin, issued in 2018, features the 2007 “Million Dollar Coin” design while the second coin, issued last year, depicts the iconic cent design used from 1937-2012.
The coin issued this December has a mintage of 4,500. It weights 26.51 grams with a diameter of 38 millimetres and plain edges. This coin is also packaged in a wood case with a graphic beauty box.