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Mina Stones and Credits Blockchain to support ethical mining practices in Africa

By November 14, 2019 No Comments

Africa is a huge supplier of gemstones to the world for jewelry, decorative, and industrial purposes: about 50% of the world’s gemstones come from Africa. Many know of Africa as a source of diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, amethyst, and others. Demand for these precious products from Africa continues to grow, but this only exacerbates historical problems associated with the extraction and transportation of such goods.

Mina Stones is a pioneer of Handcrafted African Fine Jewelry and a vertically integrated company that is involved in practically every step of a gemstone’s journey from the mines to the final consumer, in form of jewelry and accessories. Mina Stones sustains a close relationship with the miners, who are mainly in the northern and western parts of Nigeria. The company’s significant level of activity has spawned collaboration between other companies and stakeholders, including government, private sector (both foreign and local), and development agencies, with the aim of solving the issues plaguing the gems and jewelry industry in Africa.

Traditionally the gemstone supply chain suffers from the following problems:

  • Unethical sourcing (child labour, exploitation of labourers);

  • Low consumer awareness of gemstone origin, caused by lack of access to information;

  • Unreliable information about gemstones: easy to fake, hard to check.

Taking into account the particularities of the jewelry business, as well as the properties of the gems themselves (such as refractive index, dispersion, specific gravity, hardness, cleavage, fracture, and luster), it was extremely important for Mina Stones to find a complex approach to solving the problem. For this reason Mina Stones decided to implement a blockchain-based solution based on the technology of the Credits company, thus fundamentally transforming the current supply chain by introducing mechanisms for tracking, validation, and complete transparency.

Now with the solution, the gemstones mined in Nigeria will be traced through the blockchain as materials pass through the hands of couriers to the Mina Stones workshops. An immutable audit trail is created on the blockchain, which includes corresponding data to provide evidence of the gemstone production from mine to manufacturer and eventually to the buyer.

This new partnership with Credits Blockchain Platform helps Mina Stones and the whole jewelry industry to achieve heretofore unseen levels of trustability, including the following advantages:

  1. Real time access to gemstone data once mined. This helps Mina Stones to plan in advance, allowing them to work more efficiently.

  2. Accurate data about gemstones in handcrafted jewelry. Markets and end-buyers are able to access the data easily from the blockchain.

  3. Proof of ethical sourcing. Customers are able to find all relevant information on blockchain.

  4. Prevention of data manipulation and fraud. Mina Stones is able to purchase gemstones with a higher guarantee of quality, without risk of data changes by miners and shipment handlers.

“Our hope is to use the blockchain technology to achieve a transparent gemstone value chain in Africa that gives value to producing communities. We want to be able to build our local content in a reliable and trustworthy manner and are excited to make this a reality working with the Credits team”,

Lotanna Amina Egwuatu, CEO Mina Stones.

 

About Mina Stones

Mina Stones is a vertically integrated social business that is involved in every level of the gemstone value chain from the mines to the market. Mina Stones products are made using both traditional and modern methods of jewelry making. We try to keep our customary styles in processing and also include African symbolisms and shapes from ancient time in our designs to keep them on. Gemstones and precious metals used in production are carefully and ethically sourced. What sets our designs apart can be illustrated through how we source our materials and the detailed craftsmanship. We produce a range of fine jewelry items including – earrings, neckpieces, pendants,  bracelets, rings, brooches & cufflinks in gold or sterling silver (925), and using colored stones or diamond. Our creative director is a GIA certified Gemologist and Engineer.

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