Explaining its reason for initiating the branding program, the diamond mining company said it aims to support the trade by providing enhanced transparency regarding diamonds purchased from it. DTC is the anacronym for De Beers’ rough diamond marketing arm, the Diamond Trading Company.
The “diamonds from DTC” provenance claim will offer greater significance than many other industry provenance claims, De Beers said in its announcement, as it not only states corporate provenance, but is also supported by the provision of sustainability performance and transparency information on each of the mines of origin via the corporation’s website.
The new program will affect diamonds purchased from the third sight of 2019 onwards. Sight take place 10 times a year in Gaborone, Botswana, and they are the events at which De Beers sells its regular allocations to the trade. Those companies that are invited to attend are called sightholders.
The third sight of 2019 was scheduled to run from April 1 through April 5.
PASSING THE PROVENANCE CLAIM DOWN THE CHAIN
Subject to entering into a license agreement, De Beers sightholders and accredited buyers will be able to apply the claim to their sight-sourced diamonds and pass it on to their customers.
In turn, the company said, subject to meeting certain criteria, trade participants will be able to use the “diamonds from DTC” provenance claim across the value chain down to the consumer level. However, to properly provide assurance on its validity, De Beers added that they would need to certify the claim under the Responsible Jewellery Council standards, or through an independent third-party audit.
“We are proud of where our diamonds are discovered, how we recover them responsibly and the role our activities play in building thriving communities” said Bruce Cleaver, CEO of the De Beers Group. “By enabling our customers to share the source of origin of our diamonds, we hope to drive further transparency throughout the diamond value chain.”
DE BEERS CHANGING LONG-HELD POLICY
The announcement by De Beers is significant from a number of perspectives, among them the fact that the company, which traditionally has mixed rough diamonds from its various mines, historically has been reluctant to provide information about provenance. Now, although the company still does not intend identifying the name of the mine, or even the country, from which a stone is sourced, is prepared to allow corporate provenance, essentially transforming effort into a branding program.
What De Beers effectively is creating a super-charged Kimberley Process certificate, which not only provides witness to the fact that the diamond was not sourced from a conflict zone, but also testifies that it complies with De Beers’ other responsible business practices, which includes human rights, strict labor relations and a stringent environmental policy.
It is likely that other major diamond producers, and first and foremost among them Alrosa, will now be forced to follow suit, and enable their clients to make similar claims of provenance. The rough diamond producers that are likely to be left on the sidelines are the small-scale and artisanal miners extremely unlikely to be able to introduce programs of this sort.