De Beers plans to make all of its diamonds traceable – JCK

At this week’s sight in Botswana, De Beers offered all of its sightholders diamonds whose origins can be tracked through the pipeline, thanks to its blockchain. Tracr platform.

“We have offered invoice-based origin information for some time,” says De Beers brand manager David Prager. “But it’s a whole new ball game. Before, you had provenance-based claims that could not be tied to the individual diamond.

This program “starts at the source and gives each diamond a unique Tracr ID,” he says. “When manufacturers sell these diamonds to retailers as polished, the retailer can look up the ID in the Tracr app and see that the diamond is from us.”

While De Beers has been working on Tracr since 2018, Prager sees this launch as “a big step and a first step at the same time. We see a future in which consumers insist on knowing where their products come from and what role they play in the world. This is our first step to delivering this at scale.

For now, Info Tracr will only state that the diamond comes from De Beers, not which of its four producing countries (Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Canada) it comes from.

“Without foreshadowing too much, this is the beginning of the technology,” says Prager. “We see the technology advancing, allowing us to add more information about countries of operation.”

Currently, approximately 25% of De Beers new production is listed on the Tracr platform; which is currently limited to 1 ct. diamonds and more in the rough. The long-term goal is to make all De Beers production traceable.

“We estimate that today Tracr can load around one million individual stones per day onto the rig,” says Prager. “We will take time to integrate people into the system. But the overall goal is to load all of our production onto the platform.

This will include even the smallest stones.

“We know there’s a challenge in the industry around scrum,” he says. “We are working with sightholders to see a world in which there is a solution for every diamond that moves through the value chain, regardless of size.”

The need for diamond traceability has increased with the imposition of sanctions on Russian diamonds, adds Prager.

“It gives a retailer confidence in the product they’re buying and what they’re selling in their store,” he says.

The Tracr system will have “costs, but they are minimal and reflect how quickly it will get to market,” he says.

While the Tracr program is intended for business-to-business use, the technology will underpin De Beers’ new origin code, which it is piloting with consumers.

As to whether sanctions against De Beers’ main competitor will boost the company’s sales, Prager says it is already producing “at full capacity”.

“US demand continues to be robust and strong,” he says. “Our production is what it is.”

(Photo courtesy of De Beers)

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Sarah C. Figueiredo