As the importance of mine-to-market grows, some worry about its feasibility for all the diamond industry’s players.
Traceability has become a central conversation in nearly all sectors of the jewelry industry’s supply chain amid growing interest about the origin of goods.
For the diamond market, it has led to a switch.
An industry that once tried to steer the conversation away from machinery and digging, lest it detract from the product’s sex appeal, is now talking non-stop about where diamonds come from and the good they do, and it is relying on technology like blockchain to document it.
For many, the idea of increased transparency in the supply chain is inherently a good thing.
“I think all of us, certainly anybody with any kind of a social conscience, understands that we need to take great care that the diamonds don’t come from sources that are bad actors,” said Jeff Fischer.
Fischer is president of manufacturing firm Fischer Diamonds Inc. and, among other roles, is a past president of both the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America (DMIA).
A system has been put into place, he said, to create a safety net around “the vast majority of goods” and ensure those goods—and only those goods—are what make it through the system.
This includes processes to ensure diamonds and diamond mining are doing no harm, and stressing the importance of due diligence.
But from the good has arisen concerns about the possible unintended consequences of traceability for the market’s smaller players.
Small-scale miners and the midstream
Since many processes and systems created for traceability rely heavily on technology, questions of capacity and feasibility arise.
It’s estimated that around 20 percent of the global diamond supply comes from artisanal and small-scale miners.
On one hand, the technology could provide an opportunity for some diamond-producing countries to learn more and increase their market share as they participate in the technological revolution, said Stephane Fischler.
A lifelong diamantaire, Fischler is a partner in Fischler Diamonds, as well as a founding member and former president of the World Diamond Council (WDC) and vice president at the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), which merged with Resolve last year.