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ODC to profile Botswana precious stones

Publishing Date : 09 July, 2018

Author : REARABILWE RAMAPHANE

Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) a company that uptakes 15 % of Debswana rough diamonds for sorting, polishing and valuing has joined hands with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to tell the story of Botswana‘s most valuable mineral resource.


Diamonds are the anchor of Botswana’s economy contributing more that 30 % to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The diamonds sector is also the largest contributor to the country’s mineral revenue and consequently the largest foreign income earner. ODC’s rough diamonds supplier, Debswana is also the country’s largest single private sector employer. Only Government employs more people than Debswana.  


As a pilot initiative, GIA has selected and evaluated ODC rough diamonds for its M2M program, also to be auctioned at this year’s July Spot Auction. M2M is a digital platform that brings together GIA’s unique ability to scientifically match rough diamonds to the resulting polished gems with information from each step in the value chain that tells the compelling story of a diamond’s journey. Having completed another pilot phase of the program, GIA has processed thousands of rough diamonds ranging from one carat up to more than 100 carats.


Okavango Diamonds says the M2M program will create a platform for the company, its value chain stakeholders and customers to share and relay the message enshrined in the story of proud heritage and history of Botswana's diamonds. “This will provide a unique platform to share with the world the positive contributions of this valuable resource in the lives of people, clear positive socio-economic impacts of Botswana’s diamond will be deliberated on in this platform for view by the entire world, in turn profiling Botswana even more,” said ODC Managing Director Marcus Ter Haar. The ODC Boss was also quoted noting that the move was an important step in confirming diamond provenance, “We anticipate this to benefit our customers, retailers and ultimately consumers,” he said.


Ter Haar further observed that this pilot undertaking will also afford ODC customers a chance to appreciate how to confirm and distinguish Botswana Diamonds from other M2M rough stones. “Botswana Diamonds are amongst the few and very scarce high value precious stones, so this platform actually exposes us and avail this information to the Global uptake further boosting our business,” added Te Haar. Okavango Diamond Company observes that the program will provide the consumer with 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 its citizenry.


 “Consumers are exhibiting greater interest in the origin of the diamonds they purchase. The M2M program allows the retailer and ultimately the consumer, to trace the journey of a polished stone, adding to its story at each point along the value chain,” Te Haar said. The M2M program also allows for the individual characteristics of a polished stone, and its unique journey, to be shared with consumers using mobile application and smart card technology, together with traditional grading reports.


“We are very pleased to welcome ODC to M2M as part of this pilot,” said Tom Moses, GIA executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer. “Dozens of retailers and several manufacturers are signed up, and we continue to engage the majority of diamond producers as part of the initiative,” he said.


The GIA M2M program is a new digital storytelling platform, “An innovative way to combine scientific information with engaging content to involve your customers in the fascinating story of their diamond. Ensure they know the facts they need to make an informed purchase, while connecting on a deeper level with the romantic journey of their diamond,” said Moses.


Breakthrough in research allows GIA to match a polished diamond to its original rough by using scientific markers, bringing transparency to the natural diamond supply chain. In addition, the M2M mobile app provides detailed information about diamond formation, grading, and the jewelry creation process. Components of the service include a smartcard with RFID technology, a mobile app available through all major app stores and a customizable book at an additional cost.

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