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Tiffany to Disclose Origin of Diamonds

Company claims it’s going beyond industry provenance standards.
Jan 9, 2019 11:42 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Tiffany & Co. has begun disclosing the geographical origin of its diamonds to consumers, pledging to go beyond the standard responsible-sourcing methods prevalent in the industry.

The company will provide information on stones’ regions or countries of origin in its engagement-ring display cases, starting Wednesday. For other diamonds, customers will be able to obtain provenance details by asking a sales or customer-service representative. The jeweler will stop sourcing diamonds with unknown provenance, even if they carry a guarantee of responsible sourcing.

The move raises the bar for suppliers, who previously had to comply with Tiffany’s Diamond Source Warranty Protocol confirming stones weren’t tainted by human-rights concerns. They’ll now have to offer more by stating the geographical source.

“Beyond general assurances of ‘conflict-free,’ Tiffany believes that knowing provenance is critical to ensuring its diamonds are among the most responsibly sourced in the world,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The retailer will add sourcing information to its Tiffany Diamond Certificates later in the first quarter. In 2020, it will begin sharing data on the process a stone went through when it was cut and polished, such as the location of the workshop.

The program — enabled through a unique laser inscription on each stone — applies to all newly sourced diamonds of 0.18 carats and larger. “Heritage” stones of unknown provenance will come with confirmation they were sourced with industry-leading practices, Tiffany added.

Between 80% and 90% of Tiffany's polished diamonds weighing more than 0.18 carats are prepared through its Laurelton Diamonds subsidiary, which has manufacturing operations in Belgium, Botswana, Mauritius, Vietnam and Cambodia. The other 10% to 20% is sourced from external suppliers.

Laurelton has rough-supply agreements with De Beers, Alrosa, Dominion Diamond Mines and Rio Tinto, and thus sources its goods from mines in Botswana, Canada, Namibia, Russia and South Africa.

De Beers aggregates its rough production from Botswana, Namibia, Canada and South Africa at its Botswana sorting facility, enabling clients to disclose that their supply came from one of those four countries. The miner recently approved changes to that policy, as reported by Rapaport News this week. Tiffany noted that in the case of “one trusted supplier,” diamonds may be labeled “Botswana sort.”

“Our clients want and deserve to know where their most valuable, most cherished diamond jewelry is from, and how it came to be,” said Tiffany CEO Alessandro Bogliolo. “There should be nothing opaque about Tiffany diamonds.” 

Image: A Tiffany diamond ring with source of origin. (Tiffany & Co.)
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Tags: De Beers, mining, provenance, Rapaport News, source of origin, sourcing, Tiffany, Tiffany & CO.
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