Okavango Diamond Co. Signs Up for GIA’s Mines to Market Program

Botswana’s Okavango Diamond Co. says that it will participate in a pilot of the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) Mines to Market (M2M) program.

The M2M program, which JCK profiled in May 2017, is a digital platform that scientifically matches a rough diamond with the resulting polished, thereby letting a consumer track a diamond on its journey down the pipeline. It includes an M2M app that provides customers with details of the diamond’s story.

As part of the pilot, a selection of Okavango rough diamonds that have been evaluated by the GIA’s M2M program will be offered at Okavango’s spot auction this month.

Okavango Diamond Co. was established in 2012 by the Botswana government, which is its sole owner. It sells 15 percent of the run-of-mine production of Debswana, Botswana’s joint venture with De Beers. That translates to about $500 million in sales a year.

“The M2M platform allows ODC, and our customers, to finally share with the consumer the story of the proud heritage and history of Botswana’s diamonds and the positive contributions they make to society,” said Okavango Diamond Co. managing director Marcus Ter Haar in a statement. “This pilot will allow those Okavango Diamond Company customers who participate the advantage of confirming that the polished outcome of the M2M rough stones they purchase can be certified ultimately as true Botswana origin. For the end consumer, this provides the assurance that their polished diamond is natural and has been sourced from an ethical producer country where diamonds continue to make a profound impact on the livelihoods of millions of people.”

GIA says it’s tracked thousands of rough diamonds with the program, ranging from 1 ct. up to more than 100 cts.

However, Botswana’s longtime partner, De Beers, has indicated that it does not want the diamonds it sells to participate in the GIA M2M program.

(Image courtesy of the Gemological Institute of America)

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JCK News Director