The GemFair Way
2018 - 2019
GemFair, a pilot programme of De Beers Group, is the first of its kind to trace artisanal and small - scale mined (ASM) diamonds to the source.
Our innovative technological solutions, key partnerships and a dedicated local field team make this possible.
The artisanal and small-scale diamond mining (ASM) sector represents an important source of global diamond production and provides a critical livelihood for people working in the sector. However, artisanal and small-scale miners face many barriers, with lack of capital, low productivity and informal practices being among the most notable. These barriers, among others, mean the sector lacks access to formal markets to sell its production and ASM miners rarely receive fair value for their diamonds.
GemFair was established by De Beers Group to support the formalisation of the ASM sector by raising standards, capturing fair value and tracing the diamonds they sell to us from the mine onward, in order to open up a new supply of diamonds from ethical sources. GemFair uses digital technology to trace ASM diamonds from the time they are discovered at the mine site and requires all participating sites to meet minimum operating and ethical standards aligned with the OECD Due Diligence Guidelines for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals. Ultimately, GemFair is focused on creating equal opportunities and improving the standards and reputation of the ASM sector.
The launch of a successful pilot in Sierra Leone in 2018 was a significant endeavour for GemFair. During our first year of operation, we established a buying office in Kono District, acquired a licence to operate in Sierra Leone as a diamond buyer and exporter, and designed an assurance programme for the ASM participating mine sites to align with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance and GemFair’s business model. A first cohort of 16 ASM miners and their mine sites were then certified by the Diamond Development Initiative’s Maendeleo Diamond Standards Programme™ as meeting GemFair’s minimum requirements. We carried out our first purchase of diamonds from these sites in Summer 2018.
Following the initial launch, we received significant interest from other ASM sites in Sierra Leone to participate in the programme. In April 2019, the programme was expanded to provide opportunities for more sites to participate and to widen the impact. The expanded programme includes a membership model whereby mine sites are incentivised to participate in GemFair by meeting the strict set of core OECD requirements in order to join the programme, while working towards full Maendeleo Diamond Standards™ certification within a one-year timeframe.
There are 94 mine sites participating in GemFair and we have a robust solution that allows GemFair to digitally trace responsibly sourced ASM diamonds from mine to export, with assurance that all of the diamonds come from one of the approved sites. Our Members align with our requirements and we're phasing in a training and risk management programme to support their continuous improvement. In the year ahead, we're focusing on further raising standards through training and other measures so that they can mine more productively and efficiently in a safer and more environmentally responsible way. We also acknowledge that accessing equitable financing arrangements is a key barrier for artisanal miners and we are looking at ways we can help with this process.
Overview of our operating context and engagement in communities.Go to 'People'
Our assurance framework and training programme to support responsible ASM mining.Go to 'Programme'
The GemFair Digital Solution, buying process and traceability through to export.Go to 'Provenance'
World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index
World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index
UN Human Development Index
Mining village in Kono
The workers at an ASM mine site, including shovellers, panners and haulers.
Oversees work of between 5–10 diggers.
Hired by the licence holder to manage day-to-day operations. Also referred to as a miner.
Rents out a defined sub-area of an artisanal mining licence from a licence holder; pays for daily operations in the sub-area and shares revenue with the licence holder. Also referred to as a supporter.
The holder of an artisanal mining licence; pays for daily operations or rents out pits to sub-contractors. Also referred to as a miner.
Provides financial or in-kind support to miners.
Exports diamonds and often employs dealers.
Village meeting to introduce GemFair
Becoming a GemFair member
Monitoring our supply chain
Logging diamonds at the mine site
At the GemFair buying office
Reporting back to society
Human rights abuses
Directly contributing to conflict
Otherwise bringing the industry into disrepute
Sexual and gender-based violence
Direct or indirect support of non-state armed groups
Money laundering and terrorism financing
Violence and discrimination
GemFair staff member explaining the contract clauses before the Member registers
'I work directly with GemFair, that’s my family now.'
- Tamba Kono
People participated in classroom trainings
Oversees all operations
Service Support Officer
Provides technical support to miners when they have questions about our hardware and software toolkit
Carries out classroom and site-based training on the GemFair ASM Standard
Conducts community engagement and outreach
Visits mine sites to log diamonds
Carries out announced and unannounced spot checks of Member mine sites against our Core Requirements
RedA material breach of our Requirements.
YellowA non-material breach of our General or Legitimacy Requirements, such as a lapsed mining license or a lack of safety signage at the mine site.
GreenAll requirements are being met.
Introducing the GemFair programme at the mine site
Taking a photo of the miner with the diamond.
Taking a photo of the diamond against a ruler, to get a sense of scale.
Weighing the diamond and photographing it on the scale.
Recording the weight, colour, shape and quality in the GemFair App.
Placing the diamond in a unique and tamper-proof QR-coded bag.
GemFair Buyer examining a diamond
The GemFair team in Sierra Leone
GemFair ASM StandardDownload report
GemFair ASM Standard ManualDownload report
Whistleblowing Policy and ProcedureDownload report
Sourcing from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas PolicyDownload report
GemFair’s Third-Party Audit Report SummaryDownload report
GemFair response memo to the third-party auditDownload report