The largest retailer of diamonds has joined a blockchain diamond tracking scheme which plans to use blockchain technology to follow the precious stones across the supply line.
Announced on Thursday, Signet Jewellers, which with over 25,000 employees and a multi-billion dollar turnover is the biggest diamond merchant in the world, will become the first retailer to join Tracr, an end-to-end diamond tracker.
Developed by the diamond mining and trading company, the De Beers Group, the Tracr pilot program will use digital links to track diamonds from the mining to sales phase.
This Global Diamond ID includes information specific to the stone, such as clarity, color, and carat as well as images that can be used for physical authentication.
According to the De Beers website, this will enable suppliers and end consumers know the origins of the diamonds as well as to ensure that they do not originate from conflict zones or areas of exploitation.
“Responsible sourcing of diamonds has always been an integral part of Signet’s corporate ethos, and this will be further strengthened through our cooperation with Tracr”, said the CEO of Signet Jewelers, Virginia C. Drosos.
“We are joining the Tracr pilot because we believe the project not only has strong potential to facilitate increased transparency and confidence within the industry, but it can also foster much-needed digital transformation.”
“Tracr is focused on bringing the benefits of blockchain technology to the full diamond value chain – providing consumers with confidence, the trade with increased efficiency and lower costs, and lenders to the industry with greater visibility,” said Bruce Cleaver, the CEO of the De Beers Group.
The presence of blockchain technology in logistics and the supply chain is rapidly growing.
VeChain (VEN) for example, are using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to track and authenticate goods across the supply chain.
Over the past year, the Singapore-based developer has signed a significant number of partnerships and MOUs with the likes of BMW, PwC, and BrightFoods, China’s second food production and distribution company.
Similarly, the American supermarket Walmart has also implemented blockchain technology, developed by IBM, to track food across the supply chain with hopes it will enable a reduction in waste and contamination.
Domiciled in Bermuda, an island which is trying hard to turn itself into a safe-haven for blockchain companies, Signet Jewelers has major operations both in North America and in Europe under the brands Kay, Zales, and Jared.
The new adoption of blockchain will also be a welcome distraction for Signet, which has been marred by allegations of systemic abuse. Last year, Signet’s previous CEO, Mark Light, faced accusations by female employees of sexual misconduct and promoting women based on how they responded to his sexual demands – a class action lawsuit is ongoing. Light retired last year for ‘health reasons’ according to the Washington Post.
Expected to launch later this year, De Beers successfully tested Tracr earlier this month when it tracked 100 diamonds from the mining process to the cutter and polishing section, before being shipped to the jeweler for sale.