Focus on

THE DIAMOND TRADE

TRACKING THE DIAMOND FROM MINE TO MARKET

Traceability, or the ability to track a diamond from the mine all the way to the point at which it is sold at retail, set in jewelry, was a very hot topic at the 2019 JCK Show in Las Vegas in June, with both of the two world’s largest diamond companies discussing or demonstrating systems that they are developing to the do the job.

Most probably the most well-known the of the group is Tracr, a platform established by De Beers with the assistance of BCG Digital Ventures, which uses Etherium blockchain technology to create an immutable ledger, recording the diamond’s journey down the chain of distribution. Along the way, additional information is added to the blockchain record, assisting in the identification of the stone and the telling of its story.

Every diamond using the Tracr system is assigned a Global Diamond ID, which includes essential characteristics, such as carat, color, and clarity. As it goes through the process of cutting and polishing the digital certificate is continuously updated.

To verify a diamond’s authenticity Tracr, uses stone images, planned outcome images, and a diamond’s physical properties. 

Industry players can join Tracr by going through a Know Your Counterpart (KYC) process and integrating that with the blockchain. The data includes secondary certificates and invoices, all contents are encrypted.

AN ELECTRONIC PASSPORT ACCOMPANYING THE DIAMOND

A member of the Tracr platform is the Russian diamond mining company Alrosa, but at this year’s JCK Show it unveiled its won place-of-origin program that provides consumers and traders with provenance information, complete with a personalized video. 

The company said that an “electronic passport” will accompany each of the diamonds soild in the program, providing information about the physical characteristics of the diamond as well as its age, the place and date of extraction, when and where it was cut, including the name and background of cutter. 

“Provenance is the success of our industry, and its future,” said Evgeny Agureev, Alrosa’s Alrosa Director of Sales, who added that one of the drivers of diamond consumption among younger jewelry buyers is the ability to guarantee that a stone is conflict free.

Tracr, a platform established by De Beers, which uses Etherium blockchain technology to create an immutable ledger, records the diamond’s journey down the chain of distribution.

Alrosa is launching the program by assigning electronic passports to some 2,000 diamonds, and plans to increase that number s time progresses. Dealers will receive information on how to access the videos accompanying the diamonds they’ve purchased, and will be taught how to pass that information on to their customers.

The Swiss Gübelin Gem Lab has developed an Emerald Paternity Test, which places invisible nanoparticles onto rough stones that link the goods back to a specific mine, even after they have been cut and polished. 

SYNTHETIC STONES REQUIRES MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF POWER

It should be noted that natural diamonds, which were created deep under the earth, under extreme pressure and very high temperatures, likely generated massive amount of carbon dioxide during their formation. But that was millions of years ago, and today the carbon footprint that they do create is mainly a result of mining activity.

Lab-grown diamonds are produced from a carbon seed, either  under conditions of high pressure and high temperature, known as HPHT, which mimic the geological conditions that were present when natural diamonds were formed, or by layering carbon from gases in a microwave plasma oven, in a process known as chemical vapor deposition, or CVD. CVD reactors frequently operate at temperatures of more than 1,000 celsius.

Furthermore, diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky has noted, many lab-grown producers based in China and India, where coal-fired generators power the electricity grids, pouring massive volumes of carbon into the atmosphere.