By Michelle Graff
The logo for Tracr, the name De Beers has given to the blockchain platform it is developing with BCG Digital Ventures in order to track diamonds fully through the supply chain. The program currently is in pilot mode, with Signet Jewelers recently named as the first retail participant.
Akron, Ohio--Signet Jewelers Ltd. has become the first jewelry retailer on the end of De Beers’ trial blockchain run, though it will not be the only.

Trademarked as “Tracr” by De Beers Group, the blockchain platform is being developed in partnership with BCG Digital Ventures, an arm of Boston Consulting Group.

It will be used to digitally track diamonds from their origin as rough stones at De Beers’ mines through the manufacturing process to the retailer, creating a digital certificate for each diamond registered on the platform that includes its key attributes (carat weight, cut, color, clarity, etc.) and shows its path—the diamond was mined here, went to this manufacturer for cutting, etc.

De Beers and Signet said their partnership initially will focus on diamond jewelry, eventually expanding to include smaller-sized goods.

When asked if Signet would be marketing and selling the Tracr-tracked diamond jewelry to consumers under a specific name, as Helzberg Diamonds is set to do with the diamond jewelry being tracked through TrustChain, Signet Jewelers Vice President of Corporate Affairs David Bouffard said the Signet and Tracr teams will work together to figure out how it can use the platform to build customer-facing solutions in the future.

Signet, which owns Kay Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Zales stores, is the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry both by volume and by value and is the first retailer to participate in Tracr.

Yulianna Vilkos, a De Beers spokeswoman, said the company currently is in talks with other major industry stakeholders, including other retailers, about participating in the program.

Though De Beers announced earlier this month that it already has tracked 100 “high-value” diamonds using blockchain, the Tracr pilot is not officially slated to launch until later this year.

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