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Jewellery insurance info, helpful guides, resources and industry-leading insights.

 

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Blockchain has become a promising technology for the diamond industry as it offers a measure of transparency around the history of a diamond. The ability to track a diamond through the supply chain helps build trust and accountability, which was lacking in the diamond industry before the introduction of blockchain. 

 

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a distributed (shared) digital ledger that can store data of any kind. Data commonly stored in a blockchain is information about cryptocurrency transactions and non-fungible token (NFT) ownership. 

Blockchain is decentralised, which means data is shared across multiple locations and networks. No single person is managing or holding the information—it’s spread across multiple networks referred to as ‘nodes’. This setup makes it almost impossible to erase or change the data contained in the blockchain.

The digital ledger consists of ‘data blocks’ that link together to form a chain. As new data is added to the blockchain network, a new data block is created and added to the chain. Every time data is added to the blockchain, it is encrypted, time-stamped and permanently stored. After this happens, all nodes update to ensure all versions of the blockchain digital ledger are identical. 

 

How Blockchain Makes a Difference in the Diamond Industry

It’s often hard to detect when double financing, document tampering, fraudulent claims, and false identification of synthetic stones occur. The introduction of the Kimberly Process was supposed to help identify conflict diamonds, but it hasn’t proven to be overly effective due to its reliance on paper-based transaction records.

A diamond can have a transparent, traceable, and permanent record that can’t be altered by using blockchain. Blockchain creates a permanent, unchangeable audit trail that shows the journey of a diamond, starting from when it was first mined.

Here are specific ways that blockchain is changing the diamond industry.

 

Supply Chain Visibility

Diamonds are forever, but their supply chains are not.

The diamond market has a long supply chain, making it challenging to determine if a diamond is naturally mined, synthetically created or ethically sourced. Tracking (from origin to market) and tracing (from market to origin) can help ascertain the diamond’s journey while also identifying it within a supply chain. 

In 2018, IBM, together with a consortium of leading diamond jewellery companies worldwide, announced a unique blockchain collaboration called TrustChain.

TrustChain utilises blockchain technology to deliver better sourcing transparency and visibility into the supply chain. As the head of the consortium behind TrustChain, IBM uses blockchain to track and authenticate diamonds, precious metals, and jewellery at all stages of the global supply chain.

Blockchain technology promises a permanent and unchangeable provenance record for supply-chain partners, providing traceability.

Sustainability

Climate change has increased the demand for specific information, such as how raw materials are used in jewellery production and how they are extracted and processed. 

Media and non-government organisations (NGOs) are constantly scrutinising the origin and sustainability of various gemstones and human rights issues involved in producing diamonds.

With blockchain providing supply chain visibility and transparency, a supply chain's environmental and social impact can also be determined, as a diamond’s entire life cycle is recorded in the blockchain.

It is also important to note that mined diamonds provide tremendous socio-economic benefits to developing countries. Mining in South Africa has allowed for the construction and development of hospitals, schools, and sanitation facilities and improves the very basic needs of the local population. These factors are often not appreciated by western countries and are sometimes taken for granted.

Consumer Confidence

Even though diamonds represent true love, luxury and beauty, some have a dark side. 

Counterfeiters flood the market with convincing fakes, while unethical companies mine blood diamonds. All of these raise the constant question of authenticity and ethical sourcing. 

Being an independent and transparent database shared across a community and co-existing in multiple locations, blockchain builds trust and consumer confidence. 

Jewellery brands can use blockchain technology to maintain consumer confidence by:

  • Preventing people from passing off synthetic diamonds as natural
  • Ensuring that diamonds are not from conflict zones where gems are used to finance violence.

For example, DeBeers created a blockchain-based tracking program, Tracr, enabling jewellers to identify the mines their merchants patronise. 

Tracr creates a unique global ID that stores individual diamond properties such as carat, colour, cut, and clarity through integration with the participants’ record-keeping systems as a diamond travels down the supply chain.

 

Final Thoughts

Blockchain has enormous potential to provide accountability in the diamond industry, and it’s doing so already, diamond by diamond. 

Using blockchain technology for provenance tracking ensures transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain.

With blockchain, you don’t have to worry about the source of your diamonds or how they were cut and polished. All you need to worry about is saying yes to your partner and ensuring you protect your stunning new diamond ring by having it comprehensively insured from the get-go.

 

Contact us to get a Q Report quote for your jewellery insurance. We offer you peace of mind by knowing that you are fully covered, no matter what happens.

 

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Engagement Ring Budget Calculator

What you need to save to meet your timeframe and budget is:

This has not taken cut, colour, clarity or carat, your financial situation or your partners taste into account. There are many factors that can reduce or increase the value of an engagement ring.


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