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Tiffany Pioneers New Norms of Diamond Transparency; Begins by Disclosing Provenance of its Diamonds

Jan 10, 2019

In a big leap for diamond transparency, Tiffany & Co. has begun sharing with consumers the provenance (origin by region or countries) of its “newly sourced, individually registered diamonds”.  In itself a significant step, the Company hopes to extend its goal-post for diamond transparency by also sharing the “craftsmanship journey” of diamonds it sells by 2020 – which will be a first for the industry.

“With its Diamond Source Initiative, Tiffany is tracing each of its individually registered diamonds (0.18 carats and larger) by a unique “T&Co” serial number etched by laser and invisible to the naked eye, and providing consumers geographic sourcing information specific to their diamond,” Tiffany announced yesterday. “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.”

Effective from the date of its announcement, that is, January 9, 2019, Tiffany outlined its programme for transparency saying:  

• Provenance information will be merchandised in Love & Engagement caselines in Tiffany stores around the world, alongside a selection of diamond rings with their individual provenance clearly displayed. In addition, geographic sourcing information for all individually registered diamonds will be made available to consumers via Tiffany & Co. sales professionals and customer service.
• Tiffany & Co. is committing to 100% geographic transparency for every newly sourced, individually registered diamond, and will not source any diamonds with unknown provenance (even if responsible sourcing is assured) moving forward.

Further, the Company stated that in Q1 2019, it will begin including provenance on the Tiffany Diamond Certificate for individually registered diamonds, along with the stone’s other specifications, information not made available on other industry lab reports or by other global luxury jewellers.

Additionally, in 2020 Tiffany intends to “begin sharing craftsmanship journey (such as cutting and polishing workshop location) in addition to provenance”, the Company stated.

“Diamonds, formed up to 3 billion years ago and brought to the earth’s surface by a miracle of nature, are symbols of the most important moments in our lives,” said Alessandro Bogliolo, Chief Executive Officer, Tiffany & Co. “There should be nothing opaque about Tiffany diamonds. Our clients want and deserve to know where their most valuable, most cherished diamond jewellery is from, and how it came to be.”

Explaining the reasoning behind the move, Tiffany said in its announcement statement: “Although current diamond industry practices preclude the identification of provenance for many of the world’s diamonds, Tiffany continues to lead the industry by bringing a new level of transparency to its diamond supply chain. In cases where provenance is unknown – such as heritage stones that predate this policy – Tiffany will provide confirmation that the diamond was sourced with industry leading practices. Tiffany’s superlative standards exceed the Kimberley Process Certification requirements for rough diamonds and, for polished stones, mandate compliance with Tiffany’s Diamond Source Warranty Protocol. In the case of one trusted supplier with several responsibly managed operations, diamonds may be designated ‘Botswana sort.’ The majority of these diamonds were mined in Botswana, as well as in select mines in Namibia, South Africa, or Canada. For ‘Botswana sort” stones, provenance is the above grouping of countries, procured as an aggregated parcel of rough diamonds from a specific, limited group of mines in Southern Africa and Canada.”

Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tiffany & Co. commented: “Tiffany & Co. has long been committed to diamond traceability and going above and beyond industry norms to promote the protection of the environment and human rights.  A transparent journey of responsible sourcing reflects the many positive and far reaching benefits along every step of the diamond supply chain.”

Unlike most other luxury jewellers, Tiffany & Co. is unique in that it owns and operates its own diamond polishing workshops around the world. In these more than 1,500 Tiffany artisans “ensure superlative diamond quality and craftsmanship”, the Company noted.  

Suppliers are now required to go beyond a warranty of “conflict-free” to affirmatively state the geographic source of any polished diamonds sold to Tiffany including region or countries of origin.

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