Anglo American-owned De Beers has tracked 100 high-value diamonds from miner to retailer using blockchain.
It is the first known use of blockchain in the diamond supply chain to clear it of imposters and conflict minerals.
De Beers is the world’s largest diamond producer by the value of its gems and has led industry efforts to verify the authenticity of diamonds to ensure they are not from conflict zones where diamonds and other gems may be used to finance violence.
“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 jeweler,” De Beers said in a statement.
Five diamond manufacturers worked with De Beers to develop the blockchain platform called Tracr, which will be launched and made available to the rest of the industry at the end of the year, the company said.
The manufacturers involved in the pilot were Diacore, Diarough, KGK Group, Rosy Blue NV and Venus Jewel.
Blockchain is a shared database of transactions maintained by a network of computers on the internet that is best known as the system underpinning bitcoin.
“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,” De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver said.
This ability to track the origin of diamonds will help the industry overcome one of the greatest hurdles to eliminating ‘blood diamonds’ from the supply chain, because often diamonds originating in war zones are simply transported to nearby legitimate markets, where they are then sold.