Tue, 07 Dec 2004

A moment of decision is coming

The diamond business is at a
moment in time where old ideas and technology are truly meeting head
on. We have the GIA and AGS about to grade the cut of a diamond based
on measurements and ray tracing computations along with minor
parametric grade limiting characteristics. We have several other
players grading or about to grade with similar technologies. We have
Gemex using six light positions in an additive way that does not mimic
real world lighting and some other tools which compare data with
appearance.

All of this is some kind
of what might be called “progress”, but I have problems with using
tools or software to provide answers when obvious flaws exist in these
final results. The jewelry business has always been plagued with
poorly executed technological “improvements”. We had colorimeters of
various types that were highly touted to grade color, even on mounted
diamonds. Did they really work? No. Some are still being sold, but
no real lab would consider them a step up from a good set of master
diamonds.

Now, we are about to step up
in the world market with grading tools for the cut of diamonds that
have inherent problems and problematic results. Why do you need to
grade the light return of a diamond you are working with in the
laboratory with a computational model? Why not just measure the light
return with the diamond itself? Why give in to the error we all know
exists in the present industry accepted measuring devices? Once a
series of faulty measurments are taken how could anyone suppose the
computed model would be accurate? What about the measurements computed
by the device and not even measured? These will potentially be even
more innaccurate. Lastly, some small measurments are not taken at
all. Who is to say that these skipped measurements are not critical to
an proper prediction?

Admittedly, the
prediction of light behavior in diamond is highly complex. This is
precisely why the GIA and AGS have taken so long to get it going. Now,
in the rush to get it done, I am afraid it is will be given and/or sold
to the industry as if it was a perfect system when it isn’t.

If
one wants to have the right answers to light behavior, one should use
highly accurate equipment and take measurements of the light’s
properties directly from the diamond being graded. This eliminates any
computational error and is the unique and correct measurement for that
diamond. This will be the situation with the technology of ImaGem,
Inc. Diamonds will be individually graded by direct performance
measurement. The first of these units has been installed in my
Philadelphia lab and we hope to have it operational in a few days or
weeks. Many years have been spent in its development and I have been
privileged to have played a small consulting role over the past eight
years.

It is my hope that those who
make decisions in the diamond trade will allow ImaGem the opportunity
to make its case and demonstrate the accuracy of directly measured
light behavior. After 37 years in this business, I would like to make
it the best possible business we can as we head into the future.

by David S. Atlas, GG(GIA) Sr Mbr(NAJA) ASG(AGA)
datlas.com

D. Atlas & Co.