NFTs and diamonds were made for each other, with both being predicated on an idea of uniqueness and blockbuster prices. While this has resulted in some predictable outcomes (like rapper-made jewelry NFTs), one company, NFT Diamonds and Co., is using them as an opportunity to turn the real-world diamond game in on itself and as they put it, “challenge the monopoly of the $80 billion dollar diamond industry.”
NFT Diamonds and Co. sells what they refer to as Digital Diamonds (DD’s), or NFT diamonds that exist in a limited series of 100, making them actually scarce as opposed to real diamonds that’s scarcity is largely manufactured to increase demand. Each DD auction will start at 1 ETH per 1 carat and will grow in carats as the price increases to reflect the environmental impact of real diamonds (which are made from carbon atoms), and the environmental cost of the blockchain. The DD’s themselves feature references to both real-world diamond types, and crypto, with names like “Amethyst Smoke” and “The Great Vitalik.”
By putting diamonds on the blockchain, NFT Diamonds and Co. hopes to both raise awareness and counteract the destructive practices of the diamond trade — including their environmental impact and the fact that their provenance is both difficult to ascertain and notorious for being the product of thievery and violence.
DD's follow some earlier, less mission-driven diamond NFTs, like the one Lil Pump dropped on Sweet last month. “Esskeeetit Diamond VVS" was meant to mimic some of Lil Pump’s IRL collection and was minted as an edition of five, with each piece selling for $10,000. In a press release, Lil Pump said that NFTs “are the future” and will allow his fans to “live like him.”
Rapper Jim Jones turned a picture of his Vamp Life chain into an NFT that sold for a thousand dollars last year, while the company Icecap, is allowing investors to purchase diamonds exclusively on the blockchain. The real-world GIA-approved diamonds, which are purchased as a redeemable token, are apparently stored in a vault somewhere in New York City (presumably in the Diamond District). On OpenSea, Icecap is listing diamonds as high quality as 5 carats for tens of thousands of dollars.
Even though these latter NFT diamonds differ in focus from NFT Diamonds and Co., they all point to the benefits of putting diamonds on the blockchain. By being able to store and prove the ownership of objects on the blockchain, the environmental and human cost of shipping, storing, and even producing precious goods can be reduced. Of course, all of those benefits are contingent on the working out of NFTs seemingly environmental issues.