De Beers Group has announced that GemFair, the company’s initiative to help formalise the artisanal and small-scale diamond mining (ASM) sector, has sold its first dedicated parcels of ethically sourced, traceable ASM diamonds in De Beers Group Auctions.
A variety of rough diamonds sourced from GemFair-registered ASM sites in Sierra Leone were made available for sale at the auction event. The lots presented for sale contained diamonds of varying qualities and sizes, with the largest weighing 11 carats. Following good customer interest, all the gem quality lots were sold.
Launched to remove ‘conflict diamonds’ (otherwise referred to as blood diamonds) from the global market, GemFair uses a tailored technology solution that includes an app and dedicated tablet, supported by a diamond toolkit. According to GemFair’s website, this solution seeks to enable the digital tracking of responsibly sourced ASM diamonds throughout the value chain.
“This is a very exciting milestone for GemFair and the artisanal miners who are part of our programme,” said Steve Allan, Head of GemFair, “Since starting operations in 2018, we’ve been focused on bringing beautiful, traceable, ethically sourced ASM diamonds to market and to demonstrate that buying diamonds from artisanal and small-scale miners in a responsible way is the right thing to do and has the potential to be transformative for the sector.”
According to a press release, since beginning pilot program launched in Sierra Leone in 2018 with 14 registered ASM sites, GemFair has expanded to nearly 200 sites overall. While GemFair has been purchasing rough diamonds from its members since the programme’s inception, bringing those diamonds to market required a considered approach, including the creation of the GemFair ASM Assurance Programme, the development of a digital traceability solution, the production profile of the goods, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on volumes.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from diamond buyers and jewellery designers in GemFair diamonds,” said Allan, “We will continue to work at finding the best ways to bring the unique story of GemFair diamonds, and the role they have played in providing equal opportunity and enhanced working standards for artisanal miners, to a wider audience. Despite the challenges, we are inspired by the partnerships we have built with the artisanal miners in Kono and look forward to continuing to expand and deepen our impact.”
GemFair is focused on connecting artisanal and small-scale miners to the global market through digital technology and assurance of ethical working standards. De Beers will be measuring the impact rigorously through qualitative and quantitative surveys as well as various monitoring and evaluation activities. For more information, visit www.gemfair.com