Jewellery

Tiffany’s sustainable and responsibly sourced diamonds

Tiffany has made it possible to trace a diamond from every step, from the mine to its iconic blue box. Today’s socially conscious consumers want to know their diamonds were responsibly sourced and manufactured. Tiffany's craftsmanship journey report identifies the origin of each newly sourced diamond

By Jill Newman

Tiffany & Co. has made it easy for clients to choose a diamond of their dreams – and know exactly where it was mined, cut, manufactured, and made into a jewel. The company’s full craftsmanship journey report is something akin to a background check because it identifies the origin of each newly sourced diamond and tracks it every step in the process. It’s available with all Tiffany diamonds of 0.18 carats and larger. 

Today’s socially conscious consumers want to know their diamonds were responsibly sourced and manufactured. It’s no longer enough to offer top-quality, GIA certified diamonds.It’s a big investment – and often a couple’s first significant jewelry purchase, so naturally they want to feel good about their diamond.  

Tiffany responsibly sourced diamonds
Antwerp rough diamond scanning system

What sounds reasonably simple is actually a mammoth undertaking. In fact, it took Tiffany’s 20 years to become a vertically integrated company so it could control the diamond process and deliver this certificate. Tiffany’s path, however, proves it can be done and should be a model for businesses looking to promote responsible sourcing.  

Diamond sourcing is a controversial topic and often misunderstood by consumers. The terms sustainable, ethical, and responsible are used loosely today in consumer marketing, and often don’t amount to substance. The diamond mining industry has vastly improved its practices, but it remains difficult to verify the exact mine from which a stone is mined and manufactured. That’s because once a diamond comes out of the ground, it typically passes through numerous hands—dealers, cutters, and manufacturers—and is combined in parcels with diamonds from other sources before it reaches a jeweler.

As one of the world’s leading diamond jewelry brands, Tiffany has been on a mission to deliver full transparency on the diamond journey. In 2019, it was the first global luxury jeweler to provide the provenance (country of origin) of its individually registered diamonds. But this next step goes further with a complete background check on their diamonds. 

“Our customers deserve to know that a Tiffany diamond was sourced with the highest standards, not only in quality but also in social and environmental responsibility,” said Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Tiffany’s longtime chief sustainability officer. “We believe that diamond traceability is the best means to ensure both.”

The Tiffany’s diamond journey and certification begins at the mine. The luxury brand, now owned by the LVMH Arnault family dynasty, purchases its stones from vetted suppliers mainly in Australia, Botswana, Canada, Namibia, Russia, and South Africa. And they won’t buy stones from areas of concern, such as Zimbabwe and Angola. 

Tiffany loose diamonds

Next, the newly unearthed diamonds are delivered to a Tiffany-owned sorting facility where the stones are sorted and sent to one of the company’s five owned and operated diamond polishing workshops around the world in Belgium, Mauritius, Botswana, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Here, Tiffany trained artisans cut each diamond to maximize the stone’s brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation – not just carat weight. 

Tiffany’s sends larger diamonds to Antwerp, historically the heart of the diamond industry since the 1500s, for cutting and polishing. Smaller stones go to Vietnam and Cambodia, and a mix of stones are delivered to Botswana and Mauritius. After cutting, the diamonds are sent to Tiffany Gemological Lab in Pelham outside of New York City where the stones are laser inscribed with a unique serial number that identifies this diamond. Every stop has already been tracked and connected to the serial number. Obviously, the number isn’t visible to the naked eye, which makes it a secret for the wearer, who can be assured of the stone’s provenance.

Antwerp Tiffany true stone

Once the diamond is graded, it’s delivered to one of Tiffany’s workshops where it is made into an engagement ring or jewelry design. Next, it is packaged in the iconic Tiffany Blue Box and bag, which naturally are made with paper from sustainable and recycled materials.

It’s a legacy that founder Charles Lewis Tiffany, who founded his namesake company in New York in 1837, would be proud of. He was a pioneering jeweler whose infatuation with nature, flora and fauna inspired the company’s historic designs. Under his guidance and future generations, Tiffany is credited with exploring regions – both remote African countries and local American states – and uncovering legendary gemstones. Tiffany is responsible for bringing tanzanite, tsavorite and morganite among other gemstones to the market, and has been a supporter of artisanal mining projects throughout its history. 

For the past 20 years, the company’s philanthropic arm, the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, has granted over $85 million to support the environmental and related initiatives. These consistent efforts illustrate that it takes more than simply stamping something as ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’. It takes a long-term commitment to produce meaningful results – and a change not just in practices but in thinking about business. 

Knowing that a Tiffany diamond helped better the communities and the people from where it was mined and produced is added to the 4C’s – and the 5th C is community.