The diamond is known as a girl's best friend, but the hard mineral has also found its way into the heart of a Provo technology and research company.

Novatek was recently selected by the Utah Technology Finance Corp. and Provo City to receive one of 14 Small Business Innovation Awards which total $50,000.That money will be used to help the company develop its diamond technology in deep-well drilling. Novatek plans to use diamonds in the critical areas of deep-well drills used in oil and gas industries. Each drill will have 15,000 diamonds or 500 karats used in the drill's valve.

The drill is called the down-hole mud hammer and combines the rotating motion of a drill with the percussive motion of a jack hammer. Drilling time will be cut significantly and the drill's life will be increased with the diamond technology.

Mayor Joe Jenkins presented Novatek officials with a check for $12,500 last week, the first part of a $20,000 contribution the city will make to help the company develop its technology. Utah Technology Finance Corp. will present Novatek with the remaining $30,000.

The city's contribution comes from revolving loan funds set up in 1987 to help fund business growth in Provo. The city works in partnership with the Utah Technology Finance Corp., which itself has set aside $125,000 to aid growing businesses in the state.

Novatek competed against 70 other Utah technology companies for the award. Fourteen were selected statewide.

"We believe they really have an exciting future and an exciting project - one we think we will hear an awful lot about," Jenkins said.

Novatek President David Hall said the funds will allow the company to develop the tool into its finished state and will also help them sell the tool and raise funds for further development.

The drilling tools will be sold primarily to large oil drilling companies, because the 71/2-foot pipe costs $50,000, Hall said. Novatek presently employs five people and initially began as a branch of Provo's Megadiamond Inc. Hall said they plan to expand to 10 employees this year.

"There has always been a feeling to create more jobs by making businesses more efficient rather than bring new businesses in," Jenkins said.