De Beers tracks 100 diamonds through supply chain using blockchain

By James Henderson
De Beers Group has successfully tracked 100 high-value diamonds along its supply chain during the pilot of its industry blockchain platform, marking the...

De Beers Group has successfully tracked 100 high-value diamonds along its supply chain during the pilot of its industry blockchain platform, marking the first time a diamond’s journey has been digitally tracked from mine to retail.

An immutable and secure digital trail was created for a selection of rough diamonds mined by De Beers as they moved from the mine to cutter and polisher, then through to a jeweller.

The platform, called Tracr, is expected to launch later this year and will be open to the industry.

When fully operational, Tracr will provide consumers with confidence that registered diamonds are natural and conflict-free, improve visibility and trust within the industry, and enhance efficiencies across the diamond value chain.

Five leading diamond manufacturers – Diacore, Diarough, KGK Group, Rosy Blue NV and Venus Jewel – have been working with De Beers during the development of Tracr and have played an integral role in creating the first blockchain platform to span the entire diamond value chain.

The manufacturers have significant experience in the processing of large stones, which is the initial focus of the pilot, as well as broad coverage across the midstream of the industry.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “The Tracr project team has demonstrated that it can successfully track a diamond through the value chain, providing asset-traceability assurance in a way that was not possible before.

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“This is a significant breakthrough made achievable by the close engagement of the pilot participants who share our commitment to industry progress and innovation. We look forward to sharing the platform with more partners in the coming months and capturing their insights before ultimately making this technology available to the broader industry.”

As the diamonds travel along the value chain, a unique Global Diamond ID is automatically created on Tracr, which stores individual diamond attributes such as carat, colour and clarity through integration with the participants’ existing record-keeping systems.

This allows Tracr to consolidate the data into an immutable digital trail for each physical diamond, assuring its provenance and traceability from rough to polished.

To support this process-based tracking, Tracr will also be using stone images, planned outcome images and a diamond’s physical properties to verify authenticity through data science and physical identification techniques.

Tracr verifies the uploaded data at each key milestone of a diamond’s journey - ensuring its accuracy and continuity - while enabling users to be in full control of what they share with other participants through the use of privacy controls.

The pilot was announced in January, following months of research and industry consultation. De Beers is working with BCG Digital Ventures to build the platform and the underlying technology.

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