“Flawless” lab-grown diamonds are up to 50pc cheaper and almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
Now, one Japanese company is hoping to sell its man-made gems with the help of blockchain technology in an effort to crack the consumer market.
Tokyo-headquartered Pure Diamond Lab will use blockchain to track the production, refinement and appraisal of its lab-grown diamonds.
The blockchain is a distributed ledger that isn’t controlled by a single entity. There is no central administrator or system, so there is no way someone can commit fraud.
The technology has been used to power cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum, but can also be used to track the origin of diamonds.
Pure Diamond Lab hopes that by allowing consumers to know the exact origin and quality of its gems, it can garner trust among consumers who are increasingly wary about the history of their products.
Lab-grown diamonds look similar to normal diamonds, but are grown in laboratories using artificial methods that mimic geological processes that take far longer.
Pure Diamond Lab said that its diamonds are “chemically, physically and optically identical to natural diamonds.”
The business has partnered with Pure Diamond Farm Singapore to launch a new cryptocurrency, Pure Diamond Coin. Proceeds raised from the sale of the online currency will fund equipment and research and development.
Pure Diamond Lab will begin selling its cryptocurrency in September, and plans to start producing lab-grown diamonds from its own factory in May with the help of blockchain technology.
British start-up Everledger has developed a similar technology to the proposal from Pure Diamond Lab. Launched in 2015, its diamond-tracking blockchain system has encrypted the provenance of 2m diamonds.
The business uses the blockchain to securely track a diamond’s record of ownership from discovery to the present day.
Using this kind of technology to track the provenance of diamonds is becoming increasingly popular as the industry looks to avoid the sale of “blood diamonds”, diamonds mined in war zones and used to fund military campaigns.
De Beers Group, the diamond mining and retailer controlled by Anglo American, recently announced that it will begin to sell its own line of lab-grown, artificial diamonds. The diamonds will be sold under a separate brand, Lightbox, and will be cheaper to purchase than natural diamonds.