IBM and a consortium of gold and diamond industry leaders have launched the first cross-industry initiative to use blockchain to trace the provenance of finished pieces of jewelry across the supply chain for increased transparency, the multinational technology company announced last week. Asahi Refining (precious metals refiner), Helzberg Diamonds (U.S. jewelry retailer), LeachGarner (precious metals supplier), The Richline Group (global jewelry manufacturer) and UL (independent, third party verification) are launching the TrustChainTM Initiative, powered by the IBM Blockchain Platform, delivered via the IBM Cloud. The blockchain collaboration, known as TrustChain™, will track and authenticate diamonds, precious metals and jewelry at all stages of the global supply chain, from the mine, as it becomes a piece of finished jewelry, to the retailer.
TrustChain is initially tracking six styles of diamond and gold engagement rings on the blockchain network. As the program continues to develop, 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. "TrustChain is the first blockchain of its kind within our industry, designed as a solution that marries IBM’s leading blockchain technology with responsible sourcing, verification and governance by third party organizations, led by UL as the administrator.”
Citing a Nielsen survey on sustainability from 2015, Bridget van Kralingen, IBM Senior Vice President, Global Industries, Platforms and Blockchain, noted that 66 percent of consumers globally are willing to spend more to support sustainable brands. “Consumers care deeply about the quality and source of the jewelry they purchase,” she said. "TrustChain is an example of how blockchain is transforming industries through transparency and viable new business models that specifically benefit the consumer.” The collaboration’s goal 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 and multi-tiered jewelry supply chain.