Alrosa's Pink Diamond and Main Sorting Center/Bloomberg
The move to hire and train African polishers and cutters comes as Tiffany strives to be completely transparent about how its diamonds progress from deep underground to the final product.
Monday 15, April 2019
(Bloomberg) --Tiffany has been expanding its workforce in sub-Saharan Africa, a region of almost one billion people where the jewellery giant doesn’t have a single store.
Alessandro Bogliolo, the Chief Executive Officer of Tiffany, said that more than a quarter of the New York-based company’s 1,500 global diamond cutters and polishers are now based in Africa.
Tiffany has factories in Botswana and Mauritius with staff subject to intensive training over two years, making it the only western luxury brand that doesn’t outsource production of its African stones, Bogliolo said.
Botswana is the world’s largest diamond producer after Russia and is the only African country where Tiffany both buys and prepares its stones.
While it also sources diamonds from mines in South Africa, Namibia and Sierra Leone, it will not do business in Zimbabwe and Angola because of the human-rights situation in those countries, added Bogliolo.
Tiffany has been trying to recoup sales that have been hit by a slowdown of Chinese tourist spending in the US, including an expansion of the business in Beijing and Shanghai. While Bogliolo said, the jeweller has a lot of customers in Africa, they’re forced to leave the continent to make purchases as the retailer’s only outlets there are in Egypt.