Hong Kong jeweller leverages blockchain to trace diamond provenance

September 13, 2018
Chris Wheal

Top Hong Kong jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook (CTF) said on Wednesday it is to use a blockchain-powered platform to monitor the provenance and quality of its diamonds.

Tracing a diamond’s provenance is becoming increasingly important for many customersThe platform, developed by fintech start-up Everledger and hosted by IBM Blockchain, will enable customers to determine the origin and grade of the stones sold in CTF’s “T-Mark”-branded stores using a mobile app.

The four Ts

CTF’s “T-Mark – To Tell The Truth Journey” was originally launched in August 2017 to “revolutionise the century-old four-Ts concept for authentication”:

  • Traceability
  • Transparency
  • Truthfulness
  • Thoughtfulness

Under the scheme, diamonds will be graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the service will show customers at a glance where the diamonds came from and what quality they are.

“The retail industry is undertaking a digital revolution, and this serves as one of the key drivers of this pioneering initiative,” Alan Chan, CFT’s general manager of group branding told the South China Morning Post.

He added: “Nowadays, young consumers often show interest in the entire cycle of diamonds, and therefore there is a growing importance for jewellers to help ascertain the origin and authenticity of gemstones by leveraging modern technology.”

Diamond blockchain projects

This is not the first project to leverage blockchain technology to trace the provenance of gemstones.

In May, global diamond producer and dealer De Beers teamed up with Signet Jewellers to pilot a blockchain platform called Tracr – a tamper-proof record of a diamond’s journey throughout the supply chain.

Meanwhile, Pure Diamond Lab announced in August that it was using blockchain to provide information on the cultivation and refinement of its lab-grown diamonds.

Blood diamonds

Diamond retailers and producers now using such systems also appear to be reacting to growing consumer demands to prevent the sale of conflict diamonds – also known as blood diamonds – gemstones produced unethically, often using forced labour in conflict zones.

So far, T-Mark has 3,000 diamond reports ready on its blockchain and the service will roll out later this month, initially across four stores in Hong Kong.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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