Over the past decade, the industry has made inroads into sharing diamonds’ ethical origins with consumers. Retailer Kwiat is adding to those efforts with its Mine to Shine program, which lets the customer follow a single rough diamond from earth to finger — complete with visual evidence of the full journey through cutting and setting.
“In our online portal, we’ll show the diamond in its planning stages, and ultimately there’ll be videos of the stone as it’s being cut so that you can actually experience the process of seeing your diamond go from rough to polish to ring,” says company CEO Greg Kwiat. “Clients love being part of the process.”
Mine to Shine launched in June at Kwiat stores in New York and Las Vegas. The company will be rolling it out to a select group of five to 10 retail partners in the next few months and expects it to grow from there.
While Mine to Shine lets clients choose their own rough — a first for a retail company — they can also opt for a polished stone that’s already in Kwiat’s inventory. If they do, the finished ring can be available in two to four weeks. If the desired diamond is still in rough form, it can take eight to 12 weeks, or more if it’s a particularly large stone.
Either way, Kwiat can track it; all of its diamonds are traceable to the source. That’s a service few companies can provide, but after a century in business, Kwiat is perfectly positioned for the job.
“We have a very broad set of relationships across the supply chain, with mining companies, sightholders, and other partners…who are working with us to make all of this possible,” says the CEO. “Not everyone could offer it — and to be blunt, not everyone wants to. The industry is starting to separate into people for whom this is important — who make transparency part of their ethos and selling proposition — and companies that don’t find this of interest.”
[Young people] want to know what they’re buying; they want that transparency.
Ethics and quality
Mine to Shine is focusing initially on bridal, because bridal is the introduction point to diamonds for many young people — a demographic that tends to value ethical sourcing. “They want to know what they’re buying; they want that transparency,” Kwiat says.
In terms of origin, he adds, the program focuses on locales like Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, “nations that have used diamond resources to elevate their communities and populations.” With each purchase, the company also makes a donation to nonprofit organization Charity: Water, which provides families with clean drinking water.
Concurrently with Mine to Shine, the jeweler is debuting the Tiara Diamonds program, which includes its seven signature shapes: Kwiat round, Kwiat emerald, Kwiat cushion, Kwiat radiant, Kwiat oval, Ashoka, and Fred Leighton round. Each cut optimizes brilliance, fire and scintillation.
“We have always been very focused on cut, and we have very high standards,” says the CEO. “Sometimes we have others cut to our specifications, or we buy rough directly and cut it in our own workshops. That flexibility gives us a lot of power and strength in managing the program.”
Main image: From a rough gem to a diamond ring. (Kwiat)
This article is from the September-October 2023 issue of Rapaport Magazine. View other articles here.