Image: Alrosa b2b trading platform
In the age of a pandemic where jewelry trade shows around the world have been indefinitely put on hold, companies are coming up with ingenious ways to keep themselves and their partnering jewelry communities thriving. Alrosa, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds (in carats), has developed an online B2B trading platform on which jewelry designers, independent retailers, large chains, manufacturers, and diamond dealers can buy loose diamonds piece by piece, or in larger wholesale parcels.
Alrosa is particularly known for its Russian-cut diamonds, which are considered a standard for the whole world industry as the stones with the best proportions, symmetry, and brilliance. The B2B platform gives minute details on every diamond it sells.
Valentin Konurin, deputy marketing director, explained that Alrosa’s mine-to-market process allows the company to keep track of every stage of a diamond’s journey. It can therefore guarantee buyers 100 percent transparency on the diamond’s origins, including the date and place of mining, characteristics of the stone, and even information about the cutter and his or her professional experience.
“Thanks to closed production cycles and strict security protocols, we can trace the diamond at every stage, from mines to the in-house polishing division, and we can guarantee it has never been involved in a third party and therefore there is no possibility that it could get into dubious/questionable operations,” said Konurin.
Alrosa also guarantees that its diamonds are conflict-free while assuring its customers that the company follows strict practices for its workers while protecting the environment and supporting local communities. The company devotes 3 percent of its total revenue, or $150 million per year, to social investments, for instance, and is compliant with environmental, social, and governance (ESG), transparency, and human rights standards, as proven by its Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) certification.
In October the platform will host True Colors, an annual auction in which more than 200 natural fancy colored polished diamonds in all sizes (up to 22 carats) and colors will be sold. Several years ago, the company made a decision to stop selling colored rough diamonds—which hail from the alluvial deposits of Diamonds of Anabar in Yakutia, Russia, and the open pits of Severalmaz in the Arkhangelsk region—and instead shipped them to its in-house cutting division for processing. The company held its first auction of colored stones in Hong Kong in 2018.
“This year, given the coronavirus and the cancellation of diamond fairs, holding an auction in the usual format is undesirable, so as not to expose participants to an unnecessary risk of getting infected,” Konurin said. “And international flights are also not available for every country. Therefore, the project of an online platform, which we started long before that, has become especially relevant today.”
Each diamond comes with a digital passport in a PDF format that includes detailed information about the origins of the diamond along with a customized video that tells the visual story of the stone.
Alrosa is also planning an auction for high-quality white diamonds of various cuts weighing up to 30 carats. This auction, too, will feature digital passports that will show the provenance of each diamond.
In the meantime, the jewelry industry is invited to register on the platform to begin the search for the perfect stone or stones. And for those who have the means and transportation, the company leaves open the option to view the stones in person. “We will be in full compliance with security measures for those who want to,” Konurin said.