Alrosa is considering implementing blockchain or other technology ideas for its rough and polished stones to address challenges with conflict diamonds and undisclosed synthetics, the miner told Rapaport News.
“If the industry manages to build a tracing system, it would solve several problems and challenges it faces at the moment,” a spokesperson for the Russian company said in an email last week.
“It will allow [the industry] to close the issue[s] of conflict diamonds, as well as undisclosed synthetics. In an ideal scenario, the traceability system should track and provide…information about [the] time and place of mining a rough diamond, information about manufacturers, and all the steps the stone [went through] before it hit the store shelves,” the miner added.
The idea of using blockchain to track diamond transactions has gained momentum recently, with De Beers this month announcing it was investing in the tracing system. A study by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) last year detailed the opportunities blockchain offered the diamond industry, and the organization is now in talks with De Beers about a potential joint venture, according to a recent statement by the Belgian trade body.
Meanwhile, Alrosa is currently studying options related to the digital ledger, and has taken the first steps toward tracking in the Russian market by providing a paper certificate containing a unique ID number that traces the origin of each stone manufactured in its polishing division. The document includes information on where and when the company mined the rough stone.
While that identification method is currently only available for sales of polished diamonds to Alrosa clients, the miner aims to extend it to an electronic platform that would allow consumers to access a stone’s information, including origin, cutting history and characteristics. The miner plans to begin this as a pilot project in the Russian market, the results of which will determine whether it will extend the project to other countries.