Signet Jewelers to join De Beers Tracr blockchain pilot
The world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, Signet Jewelers, has signed onto De Beers’ pilot program for end-to-end diamond blockchain Tracr, the first retailer to join a growing number of big diamond industry names trialling the platform.
With Signet’s participation, Tracr will become the first digital link connecting all stages of diamond production from mining through to retail, allowing for complete traceability. A project team from Signet will work with Tracr to make sure that the platform is able to meet the needs of the jewelry manufacture and retail sectors.
Diamond jewelry tracking will be the initial focus of the partnership, which will also extend the pilot to cover smaller goods. Ultimately, Tracr is hoping to be able to provide traceability certificates for every diamond registered on the platform, guaranteeing consumers that what they are purchasing is both a natural and a conflict-free diamond.
“We are delighted to welcome Signet to the Tracr pilot programme,” said De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver in a release. “Tracr is focussed on bringing the benefits of blockchain technology to the full diamond value chain – providing consumers with confidence, the trade with increased efficiency and lower costs, and lenders to the industry with greater visibility.”
“Responsible sourcing of diamonds has always been an integral part of Signet’s corporate ethos, and this will be further strengthened through our cooperation with Tracr,” stated Signet Jewelers CEO Virginia C. Drosos. “We are joining the Tracr pilot because we believe the project not only has strong potential to facilitate increased transparency and confidence within the industry, but it can also foster much-needed digital transformation.”
Between blood diamonds and environmental concerns linked to mining, the diamond industry has something of a murky reputation in terms of ethics. It’s perhaps unsurprising then, at a time when brands are being held to increasingly demanding moral standards by consumers – particularly millennials – that some companies, such as Swarovski, have turned to synthetic or “created” diamonds for their jewelry collections.
With its Tracr blockchain, De Beers also seems to be responding to these heightened consumer expectations, attempting to allay ethical doubts about natural diamonds through improved transparency, while using the same technology to guarantee a stone’s natural origin, reasserting this as a benchmark of quality and authenticity.
Signet runs over 2,900 stores around the US under the Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry and Piercing Pagoda banners. The company also operates some 500 locations under the H. Samuel and Ernest Jones brands in the UK, and more than 150 stores in Canada, primarily under the Peoples Jewellers brand. The company also operates JamesAllen.com.
De Beers Group is developing Tracr alongside BCG Digital Ventures and plans to launch the platform later this year.
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