Eira Thomas of Lucara: Diamond Sales “Ripe for Disruption”

Gem Investing

Eira Thomas caught up with INN at VRIC to talk about Clara and how Lucara is aiming to revolutionize the sale of diamonds.

President and CEO of Lucara Diamond (TSX:LUC) Eira Thomas caught up with the Investing News Network at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference to talk about Clara and how the company is aiming to revolutionize the sale of diamonds.

“[Clara] is positioned to completely transform how diamonds are sold,” said Thomas.

“The reality is that the way we sell diamonds hasn’t changed in over 100 years. It’s a very inefficient and inflexible process, and in our view is very much ripe for disruption … we now have technology that makes this possible.”

Clara, which was acquired by Lucara in early 2018, is a digital sales platform that uses blockchain to streamline the sales process in what Thomas called a “natural application” for the technology.

“The opportunity is to sell diamonds individually for the first time. Traditionally, diamonds are sold in suites or assortments or baskets, where a manufacturer or buyer is required to buy the whole batch. They’re not allowed to be selected in which stones they choose or wish to buy.”

That means there’s loss of value through re-trading on secondary markets — something Lucara wants to do away with using Clara.

Thomas said that the first sale using Clara — which went through in December last year —“went very well,” and that process is being used to fine tune the technology.

Replicas of the Lesedi La Rona and Constellation diamonds, which combined sold for US$116 million. Image: Pia Rivera.

“The ultimate aim is selling diamonds in real time as they are being produced at a mine site,” said Thomas.

“Ultimately we have diamonds produced at the mine site, they’re scanned, they’re uploaded for sale, [and] we then have manufacturers or buyers that are uploading their polished orders. We find the match [and] deliver them the stone.”

The result, said Thomas, is a streamlined process that has been getting tremendous investor interest.

“Our primary goal right now has been to demonstrate to the entire community of producers and manufacturers alike that Clara has a value proposition, and I think we successfully did that with our first sale. And we now are in advanced discussions with additional producers, and with other manufacturers.”

Thomas said that while Clara is a big opportunity for Lucara to broaden its income, for now the company will remain a diamond producer with Clara “tracking alongside” its traditional business in large diamonds from its Karowe mine in Botswana — a strong suit for Lucara, which Thomas hammered home by bringing along replicas of two of the largest diamonds mined there.

She also said at the time that the company was hoping to achieve a second sale through Clara in January — though news of any developments are yet to come through.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in contributed article. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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