Blockchain: The Stunning Rise of Diamond and Jewelry NFTs
Whether to improve transparency, be appreciated as artworks or to raise money for charity, diamond and jewelry NFTs are becoming firmly entrenched.
What started as an April Fool’s joke — the fake launch of Tiffany & Co. cryptocurrency, Tiff Coin — by August evolved into the successful sellout of non-fungible token (NFT) pendants depicting CryptoPunk digital art figures. The LVMH-owned company released 250 digital passes priced at 30 Ether (about $50,000) against which buyers could redeem a gem-set custom pendant, as well as a digital artwork of it.
With Tiffany, under the leadership of executive vice-president of product and communications Alexandre Arnault, now embracing NFT tokens, diamond and jewelry professionals might look at NFTs differently. So far, only leading brands and auction houses have explored the opportunity to offer something novel and exciting to collectors. Companies that have met the challenge include Bulgari, Gemfields and Kendra Scott, as well as Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
The potential for growth of collectibles registered on the blockchain is something artist and jewelry designer Reena Ahluwalia advocated even before Tiffany jumped on the bandwagon. The Toronto-based designer launched the first ever diamond art NFTs — a limited collection of 10 digital artworks — on the OpenSea marketplace back in December 2021. “I think NFTs are this digital innovation on a rocket ship that is going up and up,” she says. “It’s already a multibillion-dollar industry.” Furthering her entry into the market, Ahluwalia created an artwork to celebrate Greenland Ruby’s fifth anniversary and raise money for the PinkPolarBear Foundation supporting polar research. Participants in the raffle received a free animated NFT version, demonstrating how art, technology and fundraising could blend harmoniously.
Signum, a metaverse-only diamond company HB Antwerp launched at the end of 2021, has introduced initiatives that show how NFTs offer not only immutable proof of ownership, history, and authenticity but also a chance to support mining communities. Signum reinvested the revenue of the sales of polished diamond NFTs among its Buns. Land community members, who collect digital bunnies, into a non-profit
organization focusing on empowering young people from Botswana to become managers.
“This is a great chance to collaborate with our metadiamond NFT buyers, while at the same time contributing to the mining community,” says Signum co-founder Shai de Toledo.
Meanwhile, Gemfields marked the sale of Chipembele, the largest high-quality emerald to date, by releasing an NFT series. The Chipembele Crash, comprising six rhinoceros avatars minted by Gübelin’s Provenance Proof, raised funds for the North Luangwa Conservation Programme in Zambia. Gemfields has also partnered with Brand New Vision — a platform for fashion NFT sales — and fine jewelry-eyewear brand Francis de Lara to create NFTs inspired by real-life glasses.
Whether NFTs are accompanying physical and digital items, or purely living in the metaverse, there’s no doubt they’re more than a fad and can offer jewelers a wide range of opportunities to enhance services to their clients and improve transparency in the industry at large.
Cover Image: Brand New Vision x Francis de Lara Eve NFT eyeglasses set with virtual Gemfields Zambian emeralds. (Brand New Vision x Francis de Lara)