De Beers ready to relax its provenance rules

Joshua Freedman

De Beers is planning to loosen its source-disclosure restrictions for sightholders following requests for increased transparency, Rapaport News has learned. 
The company consulted with clients during this week’s sight in Botswana, proposing to let them refer to its supply as “DTC diamonds” when they sell the goods further along the pipeline, a company spokesperson confirmed. De Beers will decide whether to implement the new system from around February.

That would partially lift a controversial ban on identifying a polished diamond or jewelry as a De Beers piece. However, sightholders would still not be allowed to use the “De Beers” name, which the company preserves for its own consumer brands, De Beers Jewellers and Forevermark.

The weird situation we’re in is that De Beers is both the brand name for the supplier of rough diamonds, and a very well-recognized brand at the retail level,” explained David Johnson, De Beers’ senior manager for media and commercial communications.

The company wants to allow customers to disclose that their diamonds are from a reputable source, but there is potential for brand damage if anyone can freely label a product as a “De Beers diamond,” he added.

What’s in a name? 

Sales-and-DistributionDeBeersTo overcome that challenge, De Beers plans to use “DTC” on its invoices, with a footnote saying that DTC is a trading name of its De Beers Group Sightholder Sales (GSS) division. Those documents will also contain a provenance statement saying they are DTC diamonds from Botswana, Canada, Namibia or South Africa, where De Beers’ mines are located. Clients would then be able to use that line to make claims about the origin of their polished supply manufactured from that rough.

Until now, De Beers labeled invoices with the name of the relevant entity selling the rough — for example, GSS or De Beers Auction Sales — but the miner prevented the buyer from disclosing the company of origin. Clients could only state that diamonds were from one of the four countries where De Beers mines, as that’s what appeared on the source-of-origin statement on the invoice.

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Source Rapaport