Hallmarking, long used in precious metals, is being promoted as a means to differentiate diamond production as plans for industry-wide chain of custody standards are on hold. Unlike a gold or platinum hallmark, which attests to the composition of the precious metal, a diamond hallmark serves as a certificate of origin to ensure that the diamond has met the sourcing criteria that millennials are demanding. Dominion Diamond Co., for instance, hopes to highlight the environmental stewardship and social responsibility of the Canadian diamond industry, which will ultimately create a premium for the company’s diamond production. Dominion claims it can create an audit trail from its Ekati and Diavik mines in Canada through the polishing process. A unique serial number is then laser inscribed onto the girdle of the diamond and Dominion issues a CanadaMark certificate. The difficulty of implementing such segregation on a large scale is frequently cited as a roadblock to implementing the often touted chain-of-custody standards for diamonds.
De Beers, on the other hand, uses its own laboratories to ensure that each diamond meets its Forevermark brand grading standard. Those stones are responsibly sourced from just a few select mines – not all owned by De Beers – which meet its social, business and environmental standards. However, De Beers is unable to pinpoint exactly which mine a particular diamond comes from, given that it mixes the production from its different mines in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Canada, before supplying to the market. Jewelers and De Beers sightholders must rely on the company’s promise of responsible sourcing.