Overview and Objectives

This collaboration is a tremendous game changer for the jewelry industry based on the transformational effect blockchain will have on the gold and diamond industry. This is collaboration among responsible and ethical organizations across the jewelry industry, supported by governance and guidance.

New Consortium Collaborates to Put Jewelry on Blockchain

The Key Tenets of the Initiative

  • IBM, together with a consortium of leading diamond and jewelry companies from around the world, has announced a unique blockchain collaboration.

  • 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 to the retailer.

  • TrustChain™ utilizes IBM’s advanced technology solution developed to improve global provenance in the diamond and jewelry supply chain.

  • This is a unique collaboration that leverages IBM’s technology and the UL, independent third-party verification, together with five diamond and jewelry companies that represent the entire supply chain: Rio Tinto Diamonds (diamond supplier for Proof of Concept only), Leach Garner (precious metals supplier), Asahi Refinery (precious metal refinery), Helzberg (US jewelry retailer) and the Richline Group (global jewelry manufacturer).

  • The TrustChain™ diamond and jewelry collaborators already employ best practice in management of their supply chains, with TrustChain™ linking the parties together to provide a new level of assurance to consumers regarding the traceability of their jewelry.

  • The TrustChain™ collaboration is well positioned to engage with the wider industry on a solution that will improve efficiency in managing the movement and provenance of diamonds and precious metals.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is TrustChain™?

TrustChain™ is the first collaboration within the global jewelry industry utilizing blockchain technology to track diamonds and precious metals through to a piece of finished jewelry and ultimately, into the hands of the consumer.

This consortium has been working together since the beginning of 2017 and is now, having completed a proof of concept, ready to communicate with the diamond and jewelry industry to increase awareness and understanding around the potential of blockchain technology.

What is unique about TrustChain™?

TrustChain™ is focused on transparency across the entire diamond, gold and finished jewelry supply chain. TrustChain™ participants already adhere to all necessary audit & certification requirements for their respective businesses, i.e. all physical movements are verified with the physical paperwork. By placing current, physical process on a blockchain, we provide better visibility to the consumer throughout the entire supply chain, to allow exchanges of information amongst participants.

What is the difference between TrustChain™ and Blockchain?”

Blockchain is the enabler for TrustChain™, utilizing IBM’s advanced technology solution, to track and authenticate diamonds, precious metals and jewelry at all stages of the global supply chain, from the mine to retailer.

What does TrustChain™ track?

TrustChain™ tracks the jewelry supply chain from the mines of origin of the diamond and precious metals, through to the refining, polishing, jewelry manufacturing and shipping the final product to the retail store.

How secure is TrustChain™?

TrustChain™ is extremely secure. It uses a proven technology platform with data verification at each stage in the blockchain.

Why is it called TrustChain™?

“TrustChain” reflects the key goals of this initiative – namely, applying technology to provenance for jewelry products and in doing so, increasing the consumers’ levels of transparency, assurance and trust that they know where their jewelry has come from.

How will TrustChain™ be built?

TrustChain™ will be built using IBM blockchain, a platform designed to track the provenance of the jewelry’s raw materials, as well as establishing transparency and accountability for all the transactions and data points that occur throughout the complex jewelry supply chain.

The transactions and data points in the jewelry supply chain become “blocks” that represent unique information that once verified, becomes part of a permanent chain that ultimately is the entire digital record for the piece of jewelry.

Why is this consortium of companies teaming up to create TrustChain™?

By joining together and leveraging IBM’s industry leading blockchain technology and expertise, the diamond and jewelry industry will have a new benchmark in supply chain governance, provenance and technology. The group is openly encouraging other, responsibly documented, participants in the supply chain to join the consortium. Additionally, the blockchain technology can made to complement or interoperate with most other blockchain networks in the industry.

What will the TrustChain™ project focus on and what is the timeframe?

The initial TrustChain project focuses on registering the transformation of raw, mined diamonds and gold into consumer products, like diamond engagement rings, from mining the raw materials through to manufacturing and finally to retail sales.

The IBM project is underway and the first products have completed the process with documented provenance.

What is UL’s role in TrustChain™?

As a global independent safety and certification organization, UL has extensive expertise in supply chain transparency, traceability and chain of custody. UL will be verifying that the data entering the blockchain is accurate along with providing physical verification as the product moves through the supply chain.   

Is TrustChain™ in use today?

No, this is a proof of concept as part of the trial and development phase.

Do you have a proof of concept for TrustChain™?

Yes. We are producing a set of six engagement rings that have been fully traced in the supply chain process.

How will consumers benefit from TrustChain™?

TrustChain™ will utilize blockchain technology to deliver better transparency of sourcing, visibility into the supply chain, and peace of mind for the consumer that they are buying a piece of jewelry that has had all its component parts and raw materials fully authenticated and responsibly created.

What will the consumer receive at the point of sale?

TrustChain™ will provide the consumer with a permanent digital record of all the transactions in the diamond and jewelry value chain.

When will consumers start seeing the benefits?

TrustChain™ backed jewelry is expected to be accessible to consumers in participating retail stores by the end of 2018.

What are the next steps for this consortium?

TrustChain™ is an open platform and the next stage would be to move to a full trial with a wider set of industry participants.

Who will supply the Gold for TrustChain™?

For the proof of concept, we will be using gold sourced from Couer’s Wharf Mine in South Dakota, USA (www.coeur.com). The mined gold is processed and refined at Asahi Refining, a London Good Delivery refiner in Salt Lake City, Utah (www.asahirefining.com)

Who will supply the diamonds for TrustChain™?

For the Proof of Concept TrustChain™ used diamonds sourced from Rio Tinto’s diamond mines in Australia and Canada.

Will TrustChain™ impact the Kimberly Process?

The KP focus is on the trade of rough diamonds in a global supply chain, whereas TrustChain™ tracks the jewelry supply chain from the mine to the market.

Who will make the jewelry?

Jewelry, for the proof of concept has been designed and manufactured by Richline Jewelry.

Who are the participating retail stores?

Initially, TrustChain™ verified jewelry will be sold only at Helzberg Diamonds starting in Fall 2018 and only in select stores.

Can others join the consortium?

All responsible jewelry firms, suppliers and retailers, will be welcomed in 2019.

How will this impact pricing through the value chain? Will jewelry traced this way be more expensive?

This will not be determined from the initial pilot but rather after further, future execution and diligence. All of the participants within the TrustChain™ already have strong tracking and chain of custody systems. Further enabling these tracking systems with blockchain technology should ultimately bring offsetting efficiencies to the supply chain and build a more sustainable and transparent industry.

Where can I go for more information on TrustChain™?

Further enquiries can be submitted to www.trustchainjewelry.com
Contact for more information: Mark Hanna, Richline Group, mark.hanna@richlinegroup.com

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Jewelry Companies Team Up With IBM on Blockchain Platform

Gold and diamond companies including Berkshire Hathaway Inc's Richline Group Inc joined with IBM to develop blockchain technology to track the origin of jewelry and ensure it is ethically sourced.

April 26, 2018 - The New York Times

IBM Blockchain Alliance Tracks Jewelry From the Mine to the Mall

TrustChain links suppliers with manufacturing and retail so you can be sure that engagement ring came from where the store says it did.

April 26, 2018 - CNET

IBM Introduces a Blockchain to Verify the Jewelry Supply Chain

Every time I talk to someone about the viability of blockchain, I get challenged to show a real project beyond the obvious bitcoin use case.

April 26, 2018 - TechCrunch

IBM Blockchain Is Tracking Diamond Rings Across the Globe

Couples who pick out an engagement ring will soon be able to trace its history from the mine to the jewelry store. This is thanks to a global jewelry consortium using blockchain technology to create an indelible tracking system for the diamond and gold in six types of popular rings.

April 26, 2018 - Fortune

Jewelry companies team up with IBM on blockchain platform

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gold and diamond companies including Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s Richline Group Inc joined with IBM to develop blockchain technology to track the origin of jewelry and ensure it is ethically sourced, the companies said on Thursday.

April 26, 2018 - Reuters

IBM Partners with Jewelry Industry on Hyperledger Supply Chain Project

IBM is collaborating with jewelry industry leaders to create a cross-industry supply chain tracking platform, the tech giant announced on Thursday.

April 26, 2018 - CoinDesk