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The debate about the importance of provenance and proof of origin in the diamond industry has continued in recent weeks. | Source: Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
The debate about the importance of provenance and proof of origin in the diamond industry has continued in recent weeks. | Source: Tommy Trenchard/IRIN

Proof of origin: Diamond tracing debate resurfaces

The debate about the importance of provenance and proof of origin in the diamond industry has continued in recent weeks.

In recent years, many industry figureheads have cited provenance as a crucial factor in the future of the trade.

That said, the issue has become murky following suggestions that proof of origin is increasingly important to consumers and, by extension, retailers.

Provenance was discussed at length at a recent RapNet panel, Diamond Origin: Practical Advice for Informed Purchasing, which was part of the recent JCK Las Vegas show.

One of the contributors to the discussion was Olivia Landau, CEO of online natural-diamond retailer The Clear Cut.

Landau drew attention to the widespread lack of knowledge about the origins of diamonds among consumers.

Olivia Landau, Founder and CEO of The Clear Cut
Olivia Landau, Founder and CEO of The Clear Cut
"Without that education and that storytelling, consumers have no idea they should be even asking for it."
Olivia Landau, The Clear Cut

“Everyone just assumes that natural diamonds come from one place, and it’s Africa and Africa’s one country, and it is a blood diamond. We are starting from square one,” she said.

“If you ask the average US consumer, they don’t even know diamonds come from Canada, they can’t point Botswana out on a map, and they probably have no idea diamonds come from Russia either.”

To combat this lack of understanding, she suggested that jewellery retailers educate consumers about diamonds' origins and the benefits mining brings to producer countries.

“Without that education and that storytelling, consumers have no idea they should be even asking for it,” she added.

“It’s important for retailers [and] companies to create this kind of buzz marketing to educate from the bottom.”

The Clear Cut has partnered with Tracr, the De Beers Group’s diamond tracing platform, and Landau described provenance as a ‘post-purchase add-on’ for consumers.

As part of the Jeweller’s 2024 State of the Industry, more than 200 retailers were asked how often consumers express interest in the origins of diamonds.

Startlingly, only three per cent suggested that provenance is ‘always’ raised by customers. A further 15 per cent indicated that customers raised the topic ‘very frequently’; however, the consensus appeared that shoppers do not care about proof of origin.

About 15 per cent of jewellers said that when shopping for diamond and gemstone jewellery, customers never discussed provenance, and more than one-third of responses revealed that customers ‘rarely’ raise the topic.
 
More reading
Does anything truly last forever?
Sanctions stall over concerns about the viability of tracing programs
Provenance: Does anyone really care?
Everledger collapse: Questions raised around business model, management
Australian diamond tracing tech company collapses
New blockchain digital provenance platform launched

 











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