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DeBeers' opens new Grading Laboratory: IIDGR

John Pollard

Ideal_Rock
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DeBeers' has formally opened their new grading lab. Called the International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research (IIDGR), current locations include Maidenhead UK, Surat India and Antwerp Belgium. Take-in begins on March 1, 2016.

Depending on progress in the Asia-Pacific, Middle-East and European markets, a USA lab may be in the works.

Technology is being emphasized. "Falcon, Eagle and DART" are DeBeers' mechanical technology solutions for grading color, clarity and synthetics detection. Human graders double-check the results at present, but the idea is to improve repeatability and grading integrity in comparison to existing labs with subjective standards.

I can't decide how to pronounce IIDGR yet. Perhaps "Eye-Dee-Gee-Arr". Or maybe "Idgar" (think 'Edgar' in Monty-Python cockney). I'll distract myself with that while waiting to see what kind of cut-metric they're deploying.

Coverage in JCK Online:
http://www.jckonline.com/2016/02/22/look-out-gia-de-beers-opens-grading-lab-trade

Coverage on Rapaport
http://www.diamonds.net/News/NewsItem.aspx?ArticleID=54504
 

oldminer

Ideal_Rock
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"Eye - ID - Ger" would make the lettering sound like many classic three letter labs. :snooty:

Let's see, Falcon and Eagle. Birds of prey, how appropriate for creating yet another flesh eating overlord lab. However, the bones are pretty well picked over already. Now DART, that's a retro idea going back to using a dart board for color and clarity grading, correct? Just throw a few and take the ones you prefer. It will be of great interest to see if the trade is ready now for technology that it has previously been shown and refused. This is not really new technology, but it may be better packaged than very similar technology which preceded it or which is in use but not in large labs in a global way. Dealers truly object to objective grading which can't be arbitraged. It is extremely difficult to program equipment to grade "exactly" as the GIA would grade due to GIA grading system issues combined with the human factor at GIA preventing the kind of accuracy machine grading can provide. What happens when the systems collide? :boohoo: :boohoo: :boohoo: :boohoo: Let's stay out of the crossfire.

While I love technology and have been deeply involved in it in reference to diamond grading over the past 15 plus years, the rapid decline of the romantic aspects of diamonds and properly made objects to be worn, will not be stopped by yet one more place which might serve to create even more doubt into the mix. We shall see how it all goes.
 

Paul-Antwerp

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It is dangerous to judge grading strictness or leniency based upon actual stones, but the more one sees, the better one can judge that.

Unfortunately, IIDGR-graded diamonds are generally sold through the Forevermark-program, and not enough are floating around in the Antwerp wholesale-market to actually form an opinion on the lab's strictness.

Second best is when you see a number of diamonds, with grading results of two labs. And a few months ago, I obtained such list of diamonds with double-grading from De Beers' Auction Sales.

It was the first time that this De Beers' division organized an auction of polished diamonds, and they listed about 20 diamonds, which had both IIDGR and GIA-grades. Almost consistently, the IIDGR was one grade (Color or Clarity) below GIA on these stones.

Mind you, this may not be a correct description. It may well be that these specific diamonds were in that auction-sale because of the IIDGR-grade being less strict, in the sense that they might have been rejected by Forevermark-clients. Then, this list does not present a correct sample, and I may be drawing incorrect conclusions.

Also, comparing to GIA may not be the correct procedure either. We see GIA more lenient since this Summer (worldwide), and today's GIA-grade may also be higher than the GIA-grade of half a year ago.

Live long,
 

Rhino

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Mar 28, 2001
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6,272
Last April I had the opportunity of being in the lab in Antwerp and am good friends with the director there, Brian. I don't think this list would be a good representation because Brian and the team there are SUPER TIGHT with not only the experience but they also employ the most advanced technologies each step of the way and double/triple checked. All I could say to myself after the visit was ... if I had the capital to get ALL THE TOYS and apply my experience I'd be in diamond grading heaven. I hope to see more from IIDGR as we move into the future.

Regards,
Rhino
 

Yang Kin

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It is dangerous to judge grading strictness or leniency based upon actual stones, but the more one sees, the better one can judge that.

Unfortunately, IIDGR-graded diamonds are generally sold through the Forevermark-program, and not enough are floating around in the Antwerp wholesale-market to actually form an opinion on the lab's strictness.

Second best is when you see a number of diamonds, with grading results of two labs. And a few months ago, I obtained such list of diamonds with double-grading from De Beers' Auction Sales.

It was the first time that this De Beers' division organized an auction of polished diamonds, and they listed about 20 diamonds, which had both IIDGR and GIA-grades. Almost consistently, the IIDGR was one grade (Color or Clarity) below GIA on these stones.

Mind you, this may not be a correct description. It may well be that these specific diamonds were in that auction-sale because of the IIDGR-grade being less strict, in the sense that they might have been rejected by Forevermark-clients. Then, this list does not present a correct sample, and I may be drawing incorrect conclusions.

Also, comparing to GIA may not be the correct procedure either. We see GIA more lenient since this Summer (worldwide), and today's GIA-grade may also be higher than the GIA-grade of half a year ago.

Live long,
Thanks @Paul-Antwerp for your insights. If we take your sample to draw a hypothetical conclusion, it seems that IIDGR is even stricter than GIA, as far as the latest GIA grading is concerned. Of course, this is just based on a 20 stones sample and I agree that we cannot simply jump into a solid conclusion, hence I put it as hypothetical.

I am actually curious about IIDGR because recently there is a new line of products from one of the leading Singapore brand and I have walked into the shop and have a look at it personally. The brand is Love & Co and the signature line is known as LoveMarque. The salesperson is kind enough to show me a I VS2 diamond graded by IIDGR and that diamond looks really brilliant. There is no yellowish tint that I can detect looking face-up. In fact, I found that the other diamond graded by IGI Antwerp with the grade of E VS1 (if not mistaken), looks more yellowish. It can either caused by the cut precision, or it can either caused by the standards of IGI being not as strict as IIDGR, or it can caused by both. This actually surprises me because I am skeptical when the grading report is from a DeBeers company, hence I am eager to find out more how is their standards. They even showed the Hearts & Arrows image for the actual diamond in the report, which is probably the first brick-and-mortar stores to do it here in Malaysia (I am from Malaysia).

That being said, what do you think about the AGS standards now?

Last April I had the opportunity of being in the lab in Antwerp and am good friends with the director there, Brian. I don't think this list would be a good representation because Brian and the team there are SUPER TIGHT with not only the experience but they also employ the most advanced technologies each step of the way and double/triple checked. All I could say to myself after the visit was ... if I had the capital to get ALL THE TOYS and apply my experience I'd be in diamond grading heaven. I hope to see more from IIDGR as we move into the future.

Regards,
Rhino
Thanks for the feedback @Rhino.

I was told that the colour of the diamond are graded by 3 individual appraisers and the colour agreed by the majority will be the colour in the report. Also, I was told that the clarity is measured by a machine, and not human. Not sure how true it is, or whether it is sales talk, but it sounds pretty convincing (to me at least). The diamond will also undergo Sarine scan to check on its light performance as well, and again, this is what I was told. So, are they true? Or just sales talk?

Thanks.
 

Karl_K

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Pretty much everyone is playing with machine grading.
I would say that right now its in the calibration stage most places other than cut grading.
Machine grades it, compare it to human graders and use the comparison to train the machine to grade better.
Color grading can long term be done much better by machine, the hardest part is kicking out the ones it can not grade for human attention and calibrating it to existing standards.
Color checking and grading machines in other industries is old technology.
It is fairly advanced and likely approaching the stage where it is as good as human for most stones, maybe better.

Cut grading is already done by computers and scanners.

Clarity is probably the least advanced of the 4c for machine grading.
It is a tough one to do because there are so many more variables.
One of them being that cameras do not see the same way that eyes do.

While color is probably quickly double checked it makes more sense that clarity is the driving force behind the human checking.
 
Last edited:

ChristineRose

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So how is the grading standards of this lab so far?
If the grading is done by machine and the machines are set up properly and everyone is honest there shouldn't even be a question of strictness. Every stone will get the same grade each time is it graded.

As explained by others, the problem is that these grades won't necessarily match to the GIA grades. Eyes and brains have all sorts of quirks that machines won't, and machines have their own rules which aren't easily translated.

It's hard to know how all this will play out, but the number of Pricescopers scrambling for that elusive "good" H S1 would go up.
 

Paul-Antwerp

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It was the first time that this De Beers' division organized an auction of polished diamonds, and they listed about 20 diamonds, which had both IIDGR and GIA-grades. Almost consistently, the IIDGR was one grade (Color or Clarity) below GIA on these stones.
I am terribly sorry, but I wrote the above post after having traveled, and I messed up in the message I was trying to give. Reading the next paragraphs, you might have noticed that it did not make complete sense either.

What I was trying to say, in that sample of diamonds graded both by IIDGR and GIA, the IIDGR was generally less strict than the GIA-grade. Somehow, I managed to post the exact opposite.

With that said, seeing such sample with IIDGR being less strict, you cannot draw conclusions still. My guess is that these specific diamonds were in that auction, because they were rejected by regular Forevermark-customers. Then, the sample is not representative.

Really sorry about the confusion. My sincere apologies.

Live long,
 

Yang Kin

Rough_Rock
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Joined
Aug 25, 2017
Messages
57
Pretty much everyone is playing with machine grading.
I would say that right now its in the calibration stage most places other than cut grading.
Machine grades it, compare it to human graders and use the comparison to train the machine to grade better.
Color grading can long term be done much better by machine, the hardest part is kicking out the ones it can not grade for human attention and calibrating it to existing standards.
Color checking and grading machines in other industries is old technology.
It is fairly advanced and likely approaching the stage where it is as good as human for most stones, maybe better.

Cut grading is already done by computers and scanners.

Clarity is probably the least advanced of the 4c for machine grading.
It is a tough one to do because there are so many more variables.
One of them being that cameras do not see the same way that eyes do.

While color is probably quickly double checked it makes more sense that clarity is the driving force behind the human checking.
Thanks @Karl_K, I really enjoy your sensible answer.

If the grading is done by machine and the machines are set up properly and everyone is honest there shouldn't even be a question of strictness. Every stone will get the same grade each time is it graded.

As explained by others, the problem is that these grades won't necessarily match to the GIA grades. Eyes and brains have all sorts of quirks that machines won't, and machines have their own rules which aren't easily translated.

It's hard to know how all this will play out, but the number of Pricescopers scrambling for that elusive "good" H S1 would go up.
Thanks for the reply @ChristineRose, perhaps one day machines will take over most of the job. I believe the consistency will be better by using machines that are more objective rather than human graders that are more subjective. Of course, as you said, that is provided if they are honest.

I am terribly sorry, but I wrote the above post after having traveled, and I messed up in the message I was trying to give. Reading the next paragraphs, you might have noticed that it did not make complete sense either.

What I was trying to say, in that sample of diamonds graded both by IIDGR and GIA, the IIDGR was generally less strict than the GIA-grade. Somehow, I managed to post the exact opposite.

With that said, seeing such sample with IIDGR being less strict, you cannot draw conclusions still. My guess is that these specific diamonds were in that auction, because they were rejected by regular Forevermark-customers. Then, the sample is not representative.

Really sorry about the confusion. My sincere apologies.

Live long,
Thanks for the correction and update.
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
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I remember reading someplace that GIA was pre-grading every stone by machine for a while now building up the database of comparisons and improving the accuracy.
The longer it is used the more in line with the human grading system it will get.
I dont recall where I read it but it just makes sense that they would do it that way.
 
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