Gübelin Gem Lab in Switzerland has launched the first colored gemstone blockchain which will track the provenance of gemstones at every step along the supply chain. Called the Provenance Proof Blockchain, its purpose is to provide the industry with a tool that enables genuine transparency concerning the origin and movement of gemstones. A gemstone’s journey begins at the mine, which is where the blockchain ideally starts. Every transaction and transition adds an entry to the blockchain, resulting in a record, providing a clear picture of the complete journey of a gemstone, from the mine to the end consumer.
This blockchain project, develped together with Everledger, which built the system architecture, feature design and technological infrastructure, is part of the Provenance Proof initiative, a long-term program established by the Gübelin Gem Lab. The blockchain project is suitable for any type of gemstone ... but unfortunately not for diamonds (see The Diamond Loupe interview with Daniel Nyfeler, Managing Director at Gübelin Gem Lab). The technological solution was developed and tested together with the mining company Fura Gems. Gübelin says it considered diverging needs such as transparency and privacy; visibility into the supply chain is restricted to the entity in ownership or custody of the gemstone, and only upstream, i.e. towards the mine. It is a simple and fast process that also allows very small players to use the Provenance Proof Blockchain efficiently.
All processes, including the registration and the upload of data, can be done with a smartphone. This ensures that the use of the Provenance Proof Blockchain is a truly inclusive solution, convenient for all types and sizes of stakeholders – artisanal miners, small-scale cooperatives, large companies, and any size of cutters and treaters, dealers, wholesalers, gem labs, manufacturers, jewellery brands, retailers, and end consumers. Furthermore, there are no charges for the use of this blockchain solution, either for data contribution or access. "Costs are born by the Gübelin family who is proud to make this contribution to foster transparency in the gemstone and jewelry industry in general."