Today the Aura Blockchain Consortium announced a deal with diamond technology firm Sarine Technologies to add its Diamond Journey traceability solution to its offerings. The luxury consortium was founded by LVMH, Prada Group, Richemont’s Cartier, and OTB Group. Jewelry brand Bulgari is one of the LVMH brands that uses the blockchain platform, as does Cartier.
There are two broad reasons why this sort of solution is useful to luxury brands. Firstly, it’s a key step in proving the gem’s authenticity, both for the company sourcing the diamonds and the end-user. In other words, it reduces fraud.
The second reason is to address ESG concerns about sourcing diamonds from conflict zones, so-called “blood diamonds”, and being able to demonstrate that to the consumer.
“Our solution enables the jewelry houses the ability to implement a traceability solution based on blockchain technology that is easily scalable and with low overheads to all their suppliers in the upstream and midstream diamond value chain,” said David Block, CEO of Sarine Technologies.
In a 2019 blog post, Block rightly stated that while blockchain may be immutable, it is not necessarily a source of truth. You have to ensure that the data you add is not garbage.
It’s also more practical to add the data in an automated fashion using IoT-enabled systems, which theoretically reduces the ability to corrupt the data that’s added. Producers create 3D models of the rough diamonds at the source. This is used throughout the diamond’s life cycle, including adding the planned polish stone outcome. Artificial intelligence is used to match the final polished diamond to the original rough gem.
Meanwhile, Aura is a non-profit consortium providing members with blockchain tools. Its Secretary General Daniela Ott said, “We anticipate additional leading luxury brands will soon be joining our unique consortium.”
The Aura Blockchain uses the Quorum enterprise blockchain.
Diamond traceability was one of the first real-world applications in the blockchain sector. Early on, the two most prominent players were startup Everledger which signed Alrosa, now the world’s largest diamond miner, and De Beers-founded consortium Tracr. Solutions were embraced in Asia, where Hong Kong’s Chow Tai Fook adopted the technology with DiamsLedger providing provenance on the Chinese mainland.