A certified illusion

Diamonds certified by reputed laboratories have unwound the deep-seated conventional Indian system that went bulls and bears over the clout of a johari. Today, at least 85 to 90% of the consumers demand a grading certificate on every purchase of a diamond...
A certified illusion

Diamonds certified by reputed laboratories have unwound the deep-seated conventional Indian system that went bulls and bears over the clout of a ‘johari’. Today, at least 85 to 90% of the consumers demand a grading certificate on every purchase of a diamond. There is a major shift in loyalty from a johari to a certificate as diamonds slide down the commodity graph from luxury item to an affordable good. In the event, the handful of diamond grading laboratories functioning in India, have joined the race to better their clientele. This sector of the diamond industry has a turnover of over Rs. 20,0000 crore. Mohana Ravindranath went about having a closer look at the methodology used by these labs-cum-institutes while grading diamonds. The results compiled are both revealing and astonishing, reflecting directly upon the Indian grading facilities, which provide this ‘certified illusion’. This article has not been written with the intention to undermine or glorify any of the labs or institutes in India or abroad mentioned herein.

Grading of diamonds may sound more scientific and accurate but it is not. It is probably, to put it in crude terms, in the hands of a common man like you and me but who is a ‘qualified gemmologist’. Being a gemmologist does not actually give him the forceps and knives to dissect the diamond but in fact it is his judgment after viewing the diamond with his mere eye or a 10x or a microscope or on a computer that determines the health of a diamond.

Probably this is what the johari did in yester years and probably what diamantaires do today while buying diamonds from the market.

The interesting fact to be noted is that equipments utilized at different labs could be the same but the eye looking at the gem differs and so does the grading certificate!

Theoretically speaking, diamond grading is based on the qualitative aspects such as clarity, color, cut and carat weight - popularly known as the 4Cs. These fundamentals have been defined according to various classifications. Two of the major standards followed in the world today are GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) in the US for American standards and CIBJO (International Confederation of Jewelry, Silverware, Diamonds, Pearls and Stones) for European standards. Labs the world over are expected to cater to these norms laid down by the giants.

Given the parameters, even if a diamond goes for certification to all the labs the report should be similar. But does this statement hold true?

Diamond World set out analyzing. To establish the authenticity and accuracy of certificates issued by the labs in India, we obtained a 1.04 carat diamond from the market and sent it across to five laboratories in Mumbai with the help of a third party.

The labs we approached were -

1. International Gemmological Institute (IGI)
2. European Gemmological Laboratory (EGL)
3. International Gemmological Laboratory (IGL)
4. HongKong Diamond Laboratory (HKD)
5. Gemmological Institute of India. (GII)

When we received the certificates each of them told a different story of the same diamond. The labs vouched following strict patterns of grading diamonds. In fact many labs take after the GIA certification. When Diamond World approached GIA to know their modus operandi they could not be reached even though our queries were routed through their local office. Unable to judge at our end we took the certificates to some of the leading diamantaires who get their diamonds certified on a regular basis from some of these institutes. While most of them did not fault grading certificates differing to some extent, they did express surprise over wide disparity shown in two of these certificates. Read on.

Diamonds were luxury items confined to the coffers of the rich and the famous. The diamond makers were few and diamonds themselves were rare. In time, new mines ensured a continuous flow of rough and the number of players in the diamond industry multiplied manifold. Diamonds too became fascinating and symbol of prestige to the middle-class Indian. For manufacturers to establish the authenticity of their diamonds it was more than necessary to put it in black and white on a neat paper. “This is one way of giving them assurance that my goods are right,” said Sanjay Shah, Vice-Chairman, Gold Star Jewellery.

“Diamonds are a considered purchase. Grading assures customers of the quality and authenticity of the diamond. The Diamond Trading Company provides a certificate of authenticity for its brands, Nakshatra, Asmi, Sangini and Arisia. This cost is not passed on to the end consumer and is a value add on we wish to pass on to them,” adds Cherie Saldanha, Marketing Director, India DTC.

“It is the right of the customer to know what he/she is buying and also whether they are getting their money’s worth. We are an international player and we strongly believe in business ethics as do most other brands. Grading works like an assurance that the customer is getting his/her money worth. Without grading the customer has no way of finding whether the jewellery/diamond is actually of the caratage being mentioned and further there is no guarantee of purity. Our customers trust us because we provide certification for all our jewellery and from the most recognized sources. All our solitaires 1+ carat come with certification. It helps us build a great customer-retailer relationship which naturally helps the business,” said Vijay Jain, CEO, Orra.

“As you are aware we are the world’s largest diamond manufacturing company and not only do we have the best diamond graders owing to our heritage but also have a huge pool of GIA and IGI Gemmologists working with us to provide correct assessment and grading to all our diamonds at Antwerp, Belgium. We also provide HRD certificates. The three bodies GIA, IGI and HRD are internationally recognized and relied upon for grading certification,” he added.

Grading of course is not a scientific process.

But does it mean that if one in every 10 diamonds is certified incorrectly it should be excused?

“Wow!” that was Sanjaybhai’s instant reaction on looking at the certificates issued by the labs on the same stone and he quickly adds: “This is nothing. In India we are having just four to five labs but in China there are 100 labs. In America there are numerous labs. No doubt GIA is on top and said to be the best. But after all the people who are certifying are humans. This is not done by machines. There is bound to be some percentage of difference.

“If there is a difference in one grade up or down then it is alright. But if there is a difference of two grades in case of clarity or color then one of them is not right. If there is one difference I don’t see much of a problem. He may put a VS2 and I may put a SI1 there is no big difference. It is just on the border. But if I am putting a VS2 and he is putting SI2 then there is a big gap. There is disparity. This is just an opinion a person has given,” he explains.

"Why talk about different labs, even if I send the same stone to the same lab after a fortnight there will be disparity, says Sanjay Shah, Partner, J.B. Brothers. This could happen at GIA also! And it has happened. “By far I feel all labs make mistakes and I believe we can do better certification at our end.”

“Whether a stone is certified at IGI or GIA or EGL or IGL, the certifier is a human being and not a machine. Machinery can only take the measurements but grading is based on human intellect,” says Sanjay Ukani, Director Sales, Shree Ramkrishna Export. “About 70 to 75% of the process of grading a stone is similar at all labs but the final 25 to 30% depends on the person certifying. It is here that there is a big possibility of an error. An error of one grade up or down could happen. It happens, it is not done deliberately. It’s human,” Sanjay Ukani defends.

The industry agrees to a disparity of a grade up or down which does bring about a major shift in the price. Based on the certificates issued we tried to price the diamond. The price disparity was exorbitant.

“Given the said make if one were to sell a diamond with slight fluorescence it would be sold at probably “38 to 40% off the list. In case of strong fluorescence it would be around 40% or 42% and very strong would be around 45%.” Putting it in terms of actual money it would be around Rs. 2,850, Rs. 2,650 and Rs. 2,500 respectively. If the make is good then it is possible to get these prices based on the fluorescence. The better the make the better the price,” said Milin Jhaveri, Director, D.A. Jhaveri.

Talking on each aspect of the reading done by the labs there is difference in each of the certificates. The reading is bound to be a little different because the machine used to read the stone may not be the same. Looking at the difference in measurements of the same stone at different labs, is basically because the diamond is measured with the help of computers. Now there is bound to be a reading difference and it does affect the price too. But the main factors determining the price of the diamond are the clarity, color and the fluorescence. IGI, HKD and IGL the fluorescence is similar whereas in GII and EGL is different. In clarity too there is a major difference. IGI and EGL have given VS2 while GII has given SI2 while HKD and IGL have given SI1 respectively, which are two grades down. This will drastically bring down the price. Looking at the GII report is completely different,” he explained.

Looking at other major differences, he said: “Everything is different in each report. Except for two of the reports, IGL, HKD and GII are totally different. EGL and IGI are similar to some extent. Even the plotting is different in these reports. But you cannot price a diamond according to the grading certificate; you have to price it according to the cost and according to the market trends.

“The market trend today is such that even for a 0.50 cent diamond customers demand a grading certificate. Otherwise it is difficult to sell. And about 1 to 2% is incurred on issuing a grading certificate. We get a better price also,” adds Milin Jhaveri.

“Keeping all the certificates in hand the best price that could be obtained for the diamond under study is by using the IGI certificate. Even if HKD had given a better grading as a seller I would not be able to get the best price as the consumer would ask for more discount as it is HKD certified. “HKD, according to what I hear from the market, is not as authentic as other labs are. If I had a certificate from HKD I would have been in a better position to comment but we have never certified from HKD,” he concluded.

On the other hand, these very certificates can get more or less price when selling a diamond in the market. Says Sanjay Ukani, Sales Director, Shree Ramkrishna Export: “Based on IGI and EGL reports and the Rap prices I may give a 30% discount on the IGI certificate and 35% on the EGL. If it is a GIA certificate then I may add on 5 to 8% on the Rap prices.”

“Certification means that the true value and fair price are already taken care of for the consumer. Also while reselling the consumers can assess the worth of their jewellery based on the certificate and studying the existing market price,” explains Vijay Jain.

As the market trend goes, every big house issues certificates along with its diamonds which establishes their authenticity. But there is one section in the market which is not happy with the labs and has accused them of being partial towards clients who bring in more business.

“I don’t think any of the labs give preference to any particular client who gives them more business. They lose their authenticity and they won’t do it,” defends Milin Jhaveri.

Further defending the labs, Sanjaybhai explained: “It boils down to the fact that it is certified by humans. Everyday one man cannot perform 100%. Some days he may be tired. You may give him a stone at five in the evening when he is in a greater hurry to leave. Or he is tired. Under such conditions and pressure it is not possible to identify a particular stone of a particular company and give a favourable certificate.

“Everyone knows IGI. IGI these days is burdened with so much work that it takes seven days to certify a diamond. At IGI, once the goods come in bar coding is done on them. No one knows from which company goods have come. The gemmologists are just given packets with bar codes. They do the certification and the goods are given back. The person who does certification does not know where the goods come from. So the chance of issuing favourable certificates is minimal,” he adds.

“We have our in-house lab with eight gemmologists and each day over 100 stones in each grade get certified. Hence the pressure on the gemmologists is high,” adds Vijay Shah. J.B. Brothers are known to produce authentic and accurate certificates for the diamonds they sell. They have a lab at their Surat factory which has 12 gemmologists. After the diamonds are certified there they are cross checked by gemologists in Mumbai before they are issued a certificate, revealed Vijay Shah.

Diamond is an illusion. To sell this illusion today we need a certificate to authenticate it. A buyer goes by the certificate or rather ‘certified illusion’, which is some sort of a guarantee of the stone. There are some norms which are followed and this certificate is helping the trade to grow. When you certify the purity and color, the consumer gets some sort of idea what it contains. At least they know what they are buying if it’s clean it is clean, if it is a pique it is a pique, if it’s white or dark… if I were not to give a certificate how would they know what they are buying?” says Sanjaybhai.

“IGI is widely accepted. As far as the consumer is concerned he would go for IGI certification because of various reasons like IGI is advertising heavily. Consumers can identify that this institute is authentic. There is awareness. Even if the stone is graded at IGI Belgium the certificate would almost be the same as the one from IGI India. Their standard is the same around the globe.

“Grossly the choice of the grading certificate depends on the consumer. Today consumers are much aware and know what is a girdle, polished symmetry, color, etc. This does not make the other labs dysfunctional. They too have their own methods of grading. It depends on the consumer what he wants - whether he wants the best institute or just a paper,” says Milin Jhaveri.

Further elaborating on consumer psychology, Sanjaybhai said that an Indian consumer has more trust on the seller than the certificate. A certificate adds to this trust. This whole business is founded on trust.

“The basic necessity is satisfaction. How do I convince my customer if the stone is right or wrong? Unless I am able to satisfy my customer I will not be able to sell. That is why it is necessary to obtain a certificate. And the customers are so well-informed either through internet or advertisements that they can identify which lab is good. Anyone can say today that GIA is the best lab in the world. In India, IGI is a little better and it has standard. Earlier, from Kolkata to Delhi to down South IGI certificates were expected but now there is so much change that everyone is asking for a GIA. Down South we are able to sell jewellery only if it is backed by GIA certificate,” Sanjay Ukani, Director Sales, Shree Ramkrishna Export. “In fact disparity in lab certificates poses a great problem to us also. Now we issue a certificate of IGI or say any other lab and the customer goes to GIA, he is sure to get a different certificate. This hits at our credibility too. It is better to go for the best either GIA or AGS,” he added.

In India, there is no uniform standard for diamond grading and hence most of the exporters grade and classify diamonds according to their convenience, says K.T. Ramachandran of Gemmological Institute of India.

“There are ways to know which certification is good. The client has to decide on his own what he wants. There are clients who insist on IGI, there are some insisting on EGL. There are some reasons behind it. One is the charges and IGI is recognized in America and EGL is very much recognized in Europe. My UK clients insist on EGL. They do the certification fast and they offer good service like collecting the products from SEEPZ,” says Sanjaybhai.

D.A. Jhaveri gets his stones certified according to the market requirement. For Indian consumers it is IGI and for international buyers it is GIA. Where standardization is concerned IGI comes before all other labs. We have not got any stone certified from the other labs so we have no idea what their standard is. IGI is accepted more in the market. The product gets sold easily with an IGI certificate. It is more authentic,” says Milin Jhaveri.

In case when there is no specific demand for a particular lab? “The three leading labs are GIA, HRD and IGI. We have given stones to all three of them and the reports have differed. Now which certificate should one prefer? It depends on whether I am a buyer or seller. We all are here to do business. Today the technology is so high that on the rough they can tell you what color, what purity and what size. When they are going to squeeze you of the last possible price, how are you going to make money?” justifies Sanjaybhai.

“Finally, clients insist that if we require VS don’t push a SI1 to VS. Ultimately when it reaches the retail chain, they are looking at the stone. It is bought on faith. The faith is not on the certificate or the certificate company. That is only an Illusion. Today when I buy a diamond I am putting the value by looking at the diamond and not at the report. Yesterday a man was trying to sell a stone to me. The price quoted by him was too much. Now if I were to go by the certificate I would be cheated,” says Sanjaybhai.

“All these labs that is IGI, GII, IGL, HKD and EGL they do not have much uniformity. Basically they lack experience. The gemmologists employed by them have theoretical knowledge but lack practical knowledge. This field needs a lot of practical knowledge and experience.

My in-house gemmologists can do a better job. Even I can do this job. I was in manufacturing before shifting to sales. Even though I have a backing of 30 years now I still feel my knowledge is insufficient as there has been so much of change in the last five years in the diamond market,” said Sanjay Ukani.

All said and done, perfect grading of diamonds is next to impossible be it a GIA, IGI or any other lab the world over owing to the human factor in it. By far GIA is considered to be the most accurate even though it is known to issue two different certificates of the same stone 15 days apart.

At least 80% of the buyers insist on a GIA certification. “It is a big process to get a diamond certified at GIA. It is routed through Rapaport which operates as a courier service to export the diamond to GIA and then import it back with the certificate. This involves costing which is obtained from the end consumer,” says Milin Jhaveri.

If it is a certified diamond it definitely has a better margin and most of all gets easily sold. And if it has a GIA certificate it’s a blind deal. “The certificate industry is growing the demand for authentic labs are also growing. There is a need for GIA to open in India,” he adds.

This is as far as international clients go but in India, IGI has gained consumer confidence and is considered more authentic and reliable. This does not mean other labs lose business with IGI monopoly. Other labs too are operating successfully but lack standards.

Moreover, the labs do not have many gemologists to study a stone. Ideally each stone should be assorted by at least four to five gemologists to get an accurate certificate.

There is a clarion call to set standards for all the laboratories in India to ensure authenticity, accuracy and consistency in the certificates issued by all the labs. It is high time the industry looked into this fast growing sector as it holds the key to a better bargain in modern day consumerism.

  • Loupe Clean (LC)
    A diamond can only be termed loupe clean if an expert examines it with a 10-times achromatic and aplanatic loupe in normal light and it is found to be absolutely transparent and free from inclusions. Nothing is seen. It is Loupe Clean.

    Further external features or faults include fractures, extra facets, dot-like inclusions, blow indentations, natural crystal faces (naturals) scratches, polishing marks, polishing traces, damaged edges, burnt facets and other surface defects.

The American and Scandinavian countries consider the internal and external defects in their clarity grading. That is the reason the scale of the American and Scandinavian nomenclature begins with the term “flawless”. This term refers to cut diamonds, which are free from internal and external faults, the term flawless defined by GIA states that cut diamonds are termed as flawless if no internal or external defects can be seen under a ten times magnification. However, smallest external faults as extra facets or naturals, which are not larger than the widest part of a fine girdle and which do not in any way influence the symmetry of the girdle nor are visible through the crown are not characterized as external defects.

Internally flawless (IF) is defined by GIA as diamond is considered to be internally flawless if it is free from internal faults under ten times magnification. Certain external faultless such as small polishing marks which can be removed with a minimum loss of weight, extra facets and naturals also above the girdle are excluded.

These definitions mean that a diamond which is described as loupe clean in Europe could in the America or Scandinavia be classified as VVS, VS or even SI because of external defects. But in the final evaluation, both systems evaluate the stone at the same level; what one system grades under clarity, the other deals with under cut grading.

  • Very Very Small Inclusions (VVS 1 and VVS 2)
    These terms describe cut diamonds which when viewed through a ten times achromatic and aplanatic loupe by an expert show only very, very small inclusions which are very difficult to see.

    Crack like inclusions which are separately recognizable fringes on the girdle, as well as small blow indentations which may extend into the interior of the stones are counted into this clarity grade. The inclusions should be light colored.

  • Very Small Inclusion (VS1 and VS 2)
    Cut diamonds that are classified in this grade have very small inclusions which can hardly be found with a 10x loupe. In this category an experienced grader does not find the internal faults very easily but does not have too great difficulties to see the inclusions when he moves the stone a little from side to side. Typical inclusions of groups are small, light clouds or small light cracks on the girdle, as well as single crystals, just slightly larger than a dot. Inclusions in this clarity grade should be mainly light colored. Very small dark inclusions are allowable around the girdle. Half carat and above diamonds can be differentiated into VS1 and VS2.
  • Small Inclusions (SI1 and SI2)
    The term covers cut diamonds which, when viewed under 10 times magnification, reveal small inclusions. These are usually easily to be been with a 10x loupe and at the same time not seen with the naked eye through the crown side.

    The inclusions under the table should be light, they should not be too obvious and around the girdle there can be small dark inclusions.

    Lately, this grade is not sub-divided any more, that is, the group has been condensed and inclusions which up to some time ago were classified as SI1 and SI2, are now graded as SI1. The SI2 grade has inclusions that can be seen easily with 10x loupe in the table but not visible with naked eye. It may have some definite external features.

    With increasing size and number of inclusions in the I grade, two further definite criteria are added — recognition with the naked eye, solely through the crown in natural day light and the influence of inclusions on the brilliance effect.

Pique - I
This term comprises cut diamonds, which when viewed under ten times magnification show several inclusions immediately but do not impair the brilliancy.

With the naked eye, when viewed through the crown, these faults even in larger stones are only discernable with difficulty. Typical defects of this group are larger colored inclusions as well as larger cracks or plane-like clouds. It is also termed as I1.

Pique - II
This grade comprises cut diamonds with larger and/or numerous inclusions which are easily visible to the naked eye through the crown and which slightly reduces the brilliancy somewhat even in smaller stones.

These might be dark inclusions or numerous light-colored features. Other characteristics are larger cracks, which may influence the durability of the stones i.e. they could expand under mechanical stress into the interior of the stones, especially if they are to be found near the girdle. It is also classified as I2.

Pique - III
This lowest grade of clarity comprises cut diamonds with large and/or numerous inclusions which are very easily visible through the crown to the naked eye and these inclusions diminish the brilliancy of the diamond considerably.

(Compiled by K.T. Ramachandran)

Curtis Lowrey
Enhances ability to be bought or sold
President of IGL Curtis Lowrey Interviewed
Indian Operation: Syed Qamaran and Girish Gopinath.

What difference does grading bring to a diamond? How well is a graded diamond received by consumers?
Certification enhances a diamond’s ability to be bought or sold. The attributes that give a diamond its value are analyzed by a gemmologist and detailed in a certificate. Consumers today are better informed than at any time in history. Information is available on the Internet and literature for a consumer to better understand their diamond purchase. Consumers have more confidence in their diamond purchase if the stone is certified by an independent authority.

How do you grade a diamond? What are the different grades given to diamonds?
Independent Gemmological Laboratories follow the diamond grading system developed by the GIA that has become the standard throughout the world.

What kinds of diamonds do you grade and what is the technology used? You specialize in...?
Independent Gemological Laboratories specialize in grading all sizes and types of diamonds. Loose or mounted into a piece of jewellery. Maintaining a constant level of education and training on synthetics and treatments, our staff can identify common treatments and identify when further testing is required.

What are the drawbacks of grading diamonds in India? How different is it from grading abroad? Please explain.
Diamond grading is standard throughout the world. In all major trading centres the grading standard remains the same. For the services we provide grading diamonds in India convinces our clients. With the majority of mass production jewellery taking place in India it seemed only commonsense. If a jewellery manufacturer needs to correct or replace a stone, having our services in India dramatically cuts down on time and cost to produce a product. Providing our appraisal services to the general public in a region where jewellery is of major importance to the common person, just seemed a natural step.

What are the new challenges being faced as far as grading various kinds of diamonds is concerned ?
As technology advances and new synthetic diamonds and treatments are introduced to the marketplace, it is essential to stay current on the latest information, & educate all employees on identification techniques and terminology.

Who are your major clients? Please name a few.
Our major clients include some of the largest manufacturers and retailers in the world. Retailers such as Zales, Whitehall, Fred Meyer, are just a few.

Stressing on the disclosure of all diamond treatments at every point of presentation for sale, the International Diamond Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA) issued directions to all laboratories to follow procedures laid down in order to ensure consumer confidence. Grading, which is being sought increasingly these days by consumers, was discussed at the last IDMA congress in 2004. ‘There is always art in the applied science of diamond grading, the grading of lower qualities is an art unto itself and can be exponentially more subjective than grading the finer qualities,’ said Stephane Fischler, Secretary General of the International Diamond Manufacturers’ Association, adding thus the need to be more precise and clear, in an e-interview with Diamond World.


Do you think there is an imminent threat to consumer confidence as far as grading is concerned? How?
I do not think so. The subject is being actively and openly discussed at present because the diamond industry is taking a pro-active stance to ensure that consumer confidence is not undermined in the future.

HPHT treated diamonds could you throw some light on the subject?
The diamond industry is not unique in regard to being confronted with rapid technological developments. Unfortunately, we are also not unique that our knee-jerk reaction is often anger, denial and protest. The HPHT treatment is only one example of technology that is here to stay and is already finding its place in the consumer market. What is crucial is full and clear disclosure of all diamonds treatments at every point of presentation for sale always.

How do you think the recommendations by the World Diamond Congress could boost consumer confidence?
The joint IDMA / WFDB statement issued at the last World Diamond Congress lays out the position of the industry very clearly. IDMA has followed this with a letter of recommendations to the diamond grading laboratories. “Raising the bar” to a reasonable minimum standard and adopting some basic standard of clear and uniform terminology will help protect the consumer and in turn that helps protect us.

What is the general methodology adopted by the various grading labs around the globe? Which according to you is more popular?
This is the problem. At the present time, there are no accepted standard (“general”) guidelines for the individual laboratories to follow. Furthermore, communication and cooperation between the labs is inadequate. This leaves the door wide open for all sorts of shortcomings.

Why do you feel grading of diamonds is becoming an increasingly complex and challenging task?
There are two broad reasons for this:

  • First and foremost, technology now confronts us with the challenge of distinguishing natural diamond from synthetic, and untreated from a growing number of various treatments. This is an evolving process. The science of detection must keep pace with the science of synthesis and alteration. If I want to put it cynically, the science of detection must keep pace with the art of deception. Equally challenging to the labs is to see that their staffs are fully trained and constantly updated to apply the available technology capably.
  • Secondly, with every passing season, an ever-increasing percentage of diamonds passes through the laboratories for grading on their way to eventual sale to the consumer. This means the grading of a wider range of sizes and qualities graded by an ever-increasing number of gemologists with varying degrees of training, experience and guidance. While there is always art in the applied science of diamond grading, the grading of lower qualities is an art unto itself and can be exponentially more subjective than grading the finer qualities.

    The trade, and of course consumers, increasingly rely on these grading reports as an indication of value and desirability. While I, of course, recognize the importance of these reports I believe that, in this regard, as the clarity of the diamond goes down, so does the “clarity” of the report. This is what has led many highly responsible, ethical and knowledgeable diamond professionals to the conclusion that additional grades are required in “commercial” or “promotional” clarities despite the resultant controversy.

The certificates we obtained looked dissimilar on many counts.

Ext. thin to Slight thick
V.thin - Medium (Bruted)
Thin to slightly thick
Thin to thick






Measurements (mm) 6.42 - 6.50 x 3.976.35 - 6.47 x 3.946.50 x 6.41 x 3.97 6.48 x 6.46 x 3.966.42 - 6.50 x 3.95
Colour JJIJJ
Clarity VS2VS2SI1SI2SI1
GirdleV.thin - SL thick
Strong Blue
Faint Blue

Kamal Patel
Information determines buying.
Kamal Patel HKD Diamond Laboratories, Canada

What difference does grading bring to a diamond?
Information provided in a clear, concise, factual and purposeful manner has always been a recipe for success. Whether it is a buyer within the diamond industry, diamond jeweller supply-chain or the end consumer, information plays a great role in their buying decision. Diamonds and diamond jewellery which are accompanied by a report allow the buyer to evaluate the item.

How do you look at treated diamonds?
HPHT or High Pressure High Temperature is a diamond treatment aimed to change the color of a diamond. HPHT treatment aims to duplicate controlled conditions that are similar to the natural environment in order to produce various colors or lack of color in diamonds. By subjecting diamonds to extreme high temperature and pressure, slight changes can be made to atomic arrangement of the diamond crystal structure which can cause significant changes in the diamond’s color. The resulting diamond color can be anywhere from vivid blue and pink to colorless. Even though only about 10 to 15% of the world’s diamonds which can be changed from colored to colorless, the inability to detect these diamonds with a simple 10x loupe is of great concern to the industry. HKD has invested a great deal of time and resource in technologies that can identify these diamonds. In August 2004, HKD set into place a standard HPHT testing procedure for all loose diamonds that are submitted by the lab.

How different is it from grading abroad?
Working within the Indian marketplace has been a great learning experience. HKD is creating new products and investing and developing new technologies to serve this market. The 11 years in Canada have shown what drives the diamond and jewellery industry.
• The consumer’s trust in the source of the information.
• The consumer’s desire for information and
• The manner in which this information is presented to the customer.
These basic principles remain the same regardless of the marketplace.

Which is the most popular method of grading a diamond?
The diamond industry moves forward by leaps and bounds each year. Whether it is by introducing new cuts, changing the proportions of diamonds in order to create an “Ideal” cut, modifying facet arrangement resulting in optical images, changing or improving the diamonds color through HPHT treatment or irradiation, attempts at clarity improvements through laser drilling or filling or with the introduction of simulant or synthetics aimed to duplicate natural diamonds.

Who are your major clients?
HKD serves a very wide range of clients, ranging from small dealers and manufacturers of diamonds and jeweller to large scale branded jewellery lines.

Tehmasp Printer
It establishes authenticity
Tehmasp Printer, Managing Director of IGI

What difference does grading bring to a diamond?
Gemstones in general, diamonds and diamond jewellery are luxury ‘items’ sold to the consumer. The consumer doesn’t always know the authenticity factors as well as the value factors. The end consumers are buying in trust. Nowadays trust has taken a different dimension. The retailer attests the quality of his merchandize with an internationally recognized laboratory’s report that confirms. In this case, grading generates or supports this trust. Grading a diamond is also documenting something unique. Today, the instruments used for grading are of such accuracy that the identity of the stone is being documented. With grading, the consumer knows his/her stone is documented in the same way people are documented. It is important to understand that this serves the following purposes: Tracking in the case of theft or disappearance, Insurance and also, the stone’s identity gives the consumer a little more insight or background than just the look of it.

How well is a graded diamond received by consumers?
Most consumers are aware of the fact that you need a grading report, preferably from one of the leading institutes. They need re-assurance and our industry needs to be transparent and confident. This is where grading plays an important role.

How do you grade a diamond? What are the different grades given to diamonds?
At IGI, diamonds are graded by gemmologists who have been trained for at least a year in India as well as Antwerp. A single diamond is graded by at least two gemmologists before issuing a report on it. Also various equipments are required for the evaluation of diamonds. Primarily the 4C’s constitute the value of a diamond and proper evaluation of these 4C’s is necessary.

What kinds of diamonds do you grade and what is the technology used? You specialize in...?
We grade diamonds of various sizes, shapes and colors. To detect various treatments in India we use state-of-the-art equipment as follows:
• Diamond Sure
• Infrared spectrometer
• Visible spectrometer
• The Raman spectrometer
We specialize in:
• Identification of HPHT (High pressure High temperature) treated goods.
• Identification of synthetic diamonds

What are the drawbacks of grading diamonds in India? How different is it from grading abroad? Please explain.
The answer is ‘none’. Grading has only advantages. The need to have a lab that has a global network is essential for an industry that is both export-oriented and meets local demands. Grading is a science. Partly it is ‘judgment based on procedures and comparison’ and partly it is the ‘result of scientific analysis’. The one big challenge is to ensure the science part in tandem with service. Science and service are incompatible. This is why our in-house training is taking care of that part. For grading there is no difference here and abroad. Grading remains the same everywhere, however only the markets can be different. We operate through our networks and the grading standards are identical everywhere.

Who are your major clients?
Shrenuj, D.A. Jhaveri, Blue Star, Rosy Blue, Karp Impex, Shairu Gems, Uni Design Jewellery, D’damas, P.N.G. Jewellery, Diaman Exports and Intergold.

In the sidelines of the International Diamond Conference Mines to Market 2005, we spoke to James E. Shigley, Director of GIA. Here is what he had to say:

We know this request for opening a lab and it actually comes to us regularly. This is a difficult question for people don’t realize what opening a lab requires. Staff, equipment, quality control, management, there is a lot involved in opening a lab. It’s not something that we can just kind of snap our fingers… we recognize there is a need, demand… This is discussed quite a bit… We are trying to expand the lab in New York and Carlsbad by doubling the size and doubling the number of staff. We have about 300 diamond graders now. It’s a huge activity and we know there is a demand out there for our reports. It’s not that simple solution.

Now that we have a school here, perhaps that could be followed in the future with some kind of research facility and perhaps a laboratory. This is not for me to say but we do recognize the market and the importance of the market.

We developed the diamond grading system, we have the standards, we created those standards, and we maintain those standards… It’s not appropriate for me to say what other people are doing but I think the market recognizes the premium that our reports provide. We have 50 years experience and we issue a tremendous number of diamond grading reports, we have several hundred people in the laboratory and there is a vast experience. We see the largest and the most important diamonds, the largest number of them… it’s a combination of all these factors.

I would agree that the labs should be more standardized because they are using our terminology. One wouldn’t think that when you see that terminology it is based on the same criteria. Again how they do the grading? What they do? What their quality controls are? I don’t know. I know what we do but we are not all the same organization.

Grading in the end of the day is a subjective decision. The grade is made against a very set of master stones for color and very distinct criteria for clarity and the grade is determined by multiple observations by multiple people independently. If there is a disagreement there are more and more people of the board who are more experienced and make a determination. I think the only problems are at the borders of the grades and there it’s going to be a judgment call. This is a human endeavour, it’s not an instrument based measurement of some kind. One has to realize that the vast amount of diamond that are graded and they don’t need to come back. Let’s not focus on the few and let’s focus on the 99%.

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