Chow Tai Fook teams with GIA to launch blockchain pilot

Chow Tai Fook and GIA bring digital diamond grading reports to customers via blockchain (image: Chow Tai Fook)

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group launches a blockchain pilot for diamonds in four retail stores in Hong Kong. Collaborating with Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the jeweler group uses blockchain to deliver digital diamond grading reports, which reduce the need for keeping traditional paper reports while providing security, traceability, and accessibility to customers. 

The blockchain pilot is applied to the jeweler’s diamond brand T MARK with diamond sizes of less than one carat. Over 3,000 diamond grading reports are already on blockchain, according to the jeweler.

“We’ve spent a few million dollars in the first stage,” said Kent Wong, managing director of Chow Tai Fook. “We plan to extend the pilot to over 10 stores and 10,000 diamond reports by the end of our 2019 fiscal year, as well as to our stores in China.”

Every diamond has a unique serial number. The GIA diamond grading report information (information about the 4Cs—color, clarity, cut, and carat weight) for a diamond is written directly to a secure, distributed blockchain ledger shared between Chow Tai Fook and GIA.  Upon purchase of a diamond, a customer can receive the diamond grading report on his mobile phone via a Chow Tai Fook’s app. 

Besides the grading report, a customer can also know other information such as the details of his purchase and his diamond’s credentials like the source and supplier of the diamond stone, cutting and polishing via the app. 

By using blockchain technology, Chow Tai Fook aims to add an additional layer of trust for customers, and bring the technology to the diamond industry. 

“Customers can get the one touch experience about the whole diamond journey and about the GIA certification,” said Alan Chan, general manager of branding sustainability and innovation center at Chow Tai Fook. “They do not need to keep physical certificates anymore but have access to digital grading reports anytime.”

The blockchain initiative was developed with blockchain solutions provider Everledger and is secured by the IBM blockchain platform. 

Chow Tai Fook is the first jeweler in Hong Kong that GIA has collaborated with. “This initial launch will likely create a lot of interest from other retailers, diamond suppliers, etc,” said Thomas Moses, executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer at GIA.” It’s our plan to make available to other jewelers and the industry.” 

Moses added, “Less than one carat is the bulk of diamonds that are graded and sold. We will ultimately apply digital grading reports on diamonds in all sizes.”