May 10, 2018 / 10:45 AM / 17 days ago

De Beers tracks diamonds through supply chain using blockchain

LONDON (Reuters) - Anglo American’s (AAL.L) De Beers said on Thursday it had tracked 100 high-value diamonds from miner to retailer using blockchain, in the first effort of its kind to clear the supply chain of imposters and conflict minerals.

FILE PHOTO: Diamonds are displayed during a visit to the De Beers Global Sightholder Sales (GSS) in Gaborone, Botswana November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo - RC1D72130B90

De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer by the value of its gems, has led industry efforts to verify the authenticity of diamonds and ensure they are not from conflict zones where gems may be used to finance violence.

“An immutable and secure digital trail was created for a selection of rough diamonds mined by De Beers as they moved from the mine to cutter and polisher, then through to a jeweler,” De Beers said in a statement.

Five diamond manufacturers worked with De Beers to develop the blockchain platform called Tracr, which will be launched and made available to the rest of the industry at the end of the year, the company said.

    The manufacturers involved in the pilot were Diacore, Diarough, KGK Group, Rosy Blue NV and Venus Jewel.

    The pilot was announced in January and had an initial focus on larger stones. Blockchain is a shared database of transactions maintained by a network of computers on the internet that is best known as the system underpinning bitcoin.

    “The Tracr project team has demonstrated that it can successfully track a diamond through the value chain, providing asset-traceability assurance in a way that was not possible before,” De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver said.

    Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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