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GUEST COLUMN: Taylor & Hart CEO on creating the UK’s first engagement ring using blockchain

GUEST COLUMN

Words by Nikolay Piriankov, chief executive officer, Taylor & Hart

At Taylor & Hart, when it comes to how we talk about our supply chain, I believe the jewellery industry is divided into two camps — those who are opaque on their diamond sourcing and those who are transparent about their ethical sourcing diamond practices.

We’ve always felt that we didn’t belong in either camp. We didn’t want to build a brand known for its ethical sourcing — we felt this should be a hygiene factor that customers should expect of all jewellery brands. One of our core values is transparency.

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When we had our first engagement ring customers, they would ask where their diamonds were sourced. I found it frustrating to not have the diamond’s full history to share. I would say what 99% of the industry repeats, that our suppliers abide by the terms of the Kimberley Process. However, I felt that was disingenuous because the Kimberley Process doesn’t go far enough.

To address this issue, we introduced Canadamark, lab-grown diamonds, Fairtrade and recycled metal options. We sought out gemstone suppliers who had mine-to-market visibility and spent a lot of time reviewing our supply chain. Although we were making progress, most of our customers were still purchasing mined diamonds without any further insight into the provenance of these gemstones. It was around this time in 2015 that we met Leanne Kemp, chief executive officer at Everledger.

Everledger is a company that uses blockchain to increase transparency and trust in the provenance and authenticity of valuables like fine wine, art and diamonds. We quickly realised that we had common values and shared a vision for the future in which technology could amend the disjointed nature of the diamond and jewellery trade.

Everledger was able to provide our customers with a blockchain-backed source of provenance, giving us the ability to track every step of the diamond’s journey.
From the mine through the hands of the various craftsmen, we were then able to present this information to our customers. To increase trust in this data, each touch point is time-stamped and stored in the blockchain to ensure the data is never compromised.

Ready to fulfil our first order with an Everledger diamond, we waited for the perfect customer to test out the process. That’s when we met James Kirby! Working in a blockchain start-up, James immediately understood the value of Everledger’s vision and just happened to be in the market for an engagement ring.

The entire journey took around two months to complete. In the end, James had peace of mind knowing where his diamond came from — a step-cut hexagonal from Russia’s Siberia province. However, what truly added to his experience was knowing the history of his diamond engagement ring’s journey. As we suspected, ethical sourcing and transparency is the standard that customers expect. We feel that by using diamonds from blockchain companies like Everledger, we will finally be able to give customers visibility into their diamond’s provenance. We want to return the focus on what’s truly important — the emotion and story captured within our jewellery.

London jeweller crafts first UK engagement ring using blockchain

Tags : Blockchainengagement ringTaylor & Hart
Stacey Hailes

The author Stacey Hailes

Editor, Professional Jeweller

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