IBM Partners With Jewelry Consortium to Track Metals Using Blockchain

The American multinational technology company IBM has partnered with a jewelry consortium to track the source of jewelry using blockchain technology. The joint initiative is called TrustChain, which will track jewelry at all stages of the supply chain.

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Track Rings From Mine to Store

A supply chain tracking platform, TrustChain is backed by IBM’spermissioned Hyperledger Fabric blockchain.

The jewelry consortium backing the logistics play consists of industry experts, including U.S. jewelry retailer Helzberg Diamonds, global jewelry manufacturer Berkshire Hathway’s Richline Group Inc., precious metal supplier LeachGarner, and precious metal refiner Asahi Refining. Initially, the project will allow all supply chain participants to verify that the jewelry is sourced ethically, ultimately allowing customers to authenticate the sources of transactions.

Jason Kelley, GM of blockchain services at IBM told TechCrunch:

“What we are announcing and bringing forward has been in the works for some time. It’s the first end-to-end industry capability on blockchain that has its core in trust.”

The jewelry industry has an existing authentication system but has failed to maintain the required transparency.  In a bid to create a similar database, Richline Group employed a different technology but dropped the idea due to it being labor-intensive work. However, with the implementation of blockchain technology, multiple parties can create and view the database in a streamlined fashion.

“We were always very enamored with it but there wasn’t the right platform,” Mark Hanna, Chief Marketing Officer of Richline Group, said. “Then along came blockchain.”

Blockchain Brings Transparency in Jewelry Space

The joint initiative not only tracks gold and diamonds but also finished goods. To start, TrustChain will track six styles of diamond and gold engagement rings on the platform.  Last week, the source of a diamond ring was tracked across the supply chain using TrustChain, as reported by Reuters.

TrustChain will be able serve to consumers by the end of 2018. In a year, couples will be able to trace the journey of rings before purchasing.

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform and bring transparency to many businesses. Although blockchain cannot solve every issue, it undoubtedly can prove to be more efficient than existing trust mechanisms as far as supply chains are concerned. With blockchain, the database remains transparent and tamper-proof while making data available on multiple computers.

Can distributed ledger technology help improve efficiency in the jewelry industry? Share your views in the comments section.

Images via Legacy Fine Jewelers, Overstock

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