Helzberg Diamonds, along with three jewelry industry suppliers and third-party administrator UL, are collaborating to launch the TrustChain Initiative. The initiative will use blockchain technology to track and authenticate diamonds and precious metals through every stage of the supply chain, up to the sale of finished jewelry to the customer.
The goal of the consortium is to instill trust in the origin and ethical sourcing of jewelry by bringing together a community of responsible and ethical organizations across the complex, multi-tiered and global jewelry supply chain.
Built by IBM Services on open-source technology and based on the IBM Blockchain Platform, the TrustChain Initiative will increase transparency through digital verification, physical product and process verification, and independent oversight.
A blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible, intangible or digital. Parties with permission are able to access trusted data in real time, empowering them to collaborate and establish a single shared view of information without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.
Joining Helzberg Diamonds and UL in the cross-industry initiative are precious metals refiner Asahi Refining, precious metals supplier LeachGarner and global jewelry manufacturer The Richline Group. Helzberg Diamonds, LeachGarner and Richline are Berkshire Hathaway companies. Other companies within the jewelry supply chain are expected to join in the future.
TrustChain will initially track six styles of diamond and gold engagement rings on the blockchain network. As the program develops, TrustChain jewelry is expected to be accessible to consumers in participating retail stores by the end of 2018.
“This initiative is important for our industry as we seek to raise the collective responsibility and provenance practices to new heights,” said Mark Hanna, Richline Group’s Chief Marketing Officer in a statement. “TrustChain is the first blockchain of its kind within our industry.”
“The global scale and complexity of the jewelry market make it ripe for blockchain to serve as a unifier for all participants to improve trust, transparency and efficiency,” said Bridget van Kralingen, SVP, IBM Industry Platforms and Blockchain in a statement. “The collaboration will benefit not only trade partners, but also the individuals who matter most — consumers purchasing gold and diamonds to mark milestone moments in their lives.”