Blockchain for coloured gemstones

A Blockchain for coloured gemstones

The Gübelin Gem Lab is proud to be partnering with Everledger, a leading global emerging technology enterprise, to build the first Provenance Proof Blockchain for coloured gemstones. The project aims to provide a digital, decentralised ledger, based on blockchain technology that tracks gemstones from mine to end-consumer.

Why are transparency and traceability important?

Companies in the jewellery industry face mounting scrutiny when it comes to the sourcing of their raw materials, and gemstones in particular. Today's consumers are more informed and expect transparency on the value, background and context of their purchase.

However, providing transparency throughout the jewellery value chain is proving extremely difficult, as the supply chain is long, fragmented and complex. The current system is based on trust or in some cases lengthy paper-trails.

This latest project is part of a growing array of technological ventures, launched with the Emerald Paternity Test in March 2017 to bring more transparency to the gemstone industry.

What is the technology behind the project?

Blockchain is a technology that is revolutionising transactions. It digitally records individual peer-to-peer transactions, creating a virtual ledger secured through cryptography, which is distributed and accessible to each participant.

The main benefits of this digital ledger are transparency, security and speed.

This makes blockchain technology an incredibly interesting tool for improving tracking throughout the supply chain. Applied to the gemstone industry, this digital ledger can offer a permanent, tamper-proof record that traces a gemstone’s individual journey, from the mine to the end-consumer and even beyond.

To design and build the required technical backbone of the new Provenance Proof Blockchain for coloured gemstones, Gübelin Gem Lab has partnered with Everledger, a leading expert in tracking the provenance of high-value assets using blockchain technology.

How will it work?

Blockchain technology works as follows: Whenever a transaction occurs, it is validated within the ecosystem of the so called blockchain. Once verified, a transaction is recorded as a digital block, containing the key of the previous entry, a timestamp and the transaction data, all secured through cryptography. Any further transaction is secured in the same way by creating a new block with a new key which then is linked to the previous block. This creates a chain of individual transactions that can be traced back to the original. These blocks become part of a digital ledger, which is continuously distributed to all participants.

 This concept of distribution and verification is considered to be resistant to data loss, modification or fraud.

The Provenance Proof Blockchain project focuses on building a platform that uses this process to create a digital ledger tracing a gemstone's particular journey. Every step or transaction within the value adding process of a particular gemstone will be recorded within this digital ledger. At any stage, only the party who physically holds the gemstone will be permitted to consult its past hisotry and add a new chapter to it. 

Any stakeholder, such as miner, wholesaler, jeweller, cutter or gem lab will be able to join the blockchain easily and in most cases for free with a simple one-time online registration. In principal only an internet access via smartphone or PC and very basic gemmological tools such as a scale and measuring devices are required. 

However, despite its trait of being immutable, and ensuring the integrity of its data, it is advised to deploy other technologies to complement a digital tracking and tracing solution. One such solution is our Emerald Paternity Test.

What the press says about the Provenance Proof Blockchain for coloured gemstones

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