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De Beers tracks first diamonds

Man examines diamond

Today De Beers Group announced that is has tracked 100 high-value diamonds in their blockchain pilot. This is the first time a diamond has been digitally traced from mine to retail. The diamond company first announced the blockchain in December last year.

The focus on the pilot is on large stones, and hence De Beers worked with five leading diamond manufacturers with experience in this area: Diacore, Diarough, KGK Group, Rosy Blue NV and Venus Jewel. The blockchain platform is called Tracr.

Sevantilal Shah, Chairman of Venus Jewel, said: “Venus Jewel is proud to be one of the first partners in Tracr. Proof of provenance is a key part of Venus’ promise to its customers, and Tracr will be an integral part of that promise.”

Tracr is a separate company, and the platform is open to industry players. It plans to launch later in the year. De Beers is working with BCG Digital Ventures which is an incubator.

The startup is based in London and is currently actively hiring.


The company plans to engage with the industry to arrive at a governance structure. This is likely to include industry stakeholders such as diamond producers, trade associations, graders, governments, logistics providers, retailers, and banks.

How it works

Every diamond is assigned a Global Diamond ID. Key attributes of the stone are stored on Tracr including carat, color, and clarity. The details are integrated with member record-keeping systems. As the diamonds go through the process of cutting and polishing the digital certificate is continuously updated.

To verify authenticity Tracr uses stone images, planned outcome images, and a diamond’s physical properties. Through data science and physical identification techniques, this enables the provenance to be tracked from rough diamond to polished.

Industry players can join by going through a KYC process and integrating with the blockchain. They create an identity and then start uploading data about the diamonds. In addition to the physical details, the data includes secondary certificates and invoices. The contents are encrypted.

The platform uses Ethereum’s technology, but the website uses the word ‘currently’. Also, the job adverts mention both Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric.

Hyperledger Fabric is also used by IBM, which two weeks ago announced another diamond tracking initiative called TrustChain.