Suppliers will be asked to account for the origin of as many 0.3 ct. and larger stones as possible. As promised last week, I am taking a more in-depth look at Signet’s Responsible Sourcing Program for Diamonds.
The diamond industry has a notoriously convoluted supply chain, with parcels frequently sold from various sources. The new program was designed with that in mind and will allow companies to break down the origin of their diamonds into several different categories, says Signet consultant John Hall, the Rio Tinto veteran who helped design the protocol.
“We recognized that we needed to have a fairly good amount of flexibility,” he says. “You couldn’t have a one size fits all.”
Perhaps the biggest change is that Signet will want suppliers to account for the provenance of as many 0.3 ct. (30 pointers) and larger stones as possible. Hall believes this isn’t as big a challenge as it may first appear.
“When we started doing this work we asked our suppliers: Do you know where the goods derive from?” Hall says. “And mostly they said we never asked the question because no one has ever asked us. But the answers were fairly interesting. From a fairly high percentage, they know where the goods are from.”
Of course, information about a diamond’s ultimate origin isn’t always available: De Beers, for instance, doesn’t sort its goods by mine, so in those cases, it will be okay just to identify that company. In other instances, vendors may say they source from the four major mining companies—De Beers, Alrosa, Rio Tinto, and Dominion—without getting into more granular detail. (Companies can also specify that their goods came from artisanal, or informal, sources.)