In view of the current technological boom in the diamond sector, more and more companies are calling into question the certification laboratories and claiming that the evaluation of the 4Cs should not be a subjective science in the hands of gemmologists.
“In 5 to 10 years’ time, diamond certification will no longer be carried out by gemmologists,” says Haim Volner, owner of Shirtal Diamonds, whose subsidiary Shirtal DiaCam is developing an automated certification solution. “With the advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and in-depth learning, computers will do all the work.”
DiaCam has partnered with Matrix, a software service provider in Israel, to analyze the diamond images created by the DiaCam360 system – a technology that produces a 360-degree image of the diamond.
The use of the database, consisting of “hundreds of thousands” of images, allows the platform to learn how to certify stones, Haim Volner said in a recent interview.
Compared to the results of a certification by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), DiaCam360 has demonstrated an accuracy of 90% in evaluating the colour of the stone. DiaCam believes it can exceed 95% by making small adjustments after the first tests, according to Lior Hirsh, DiaCam’s Chief Operating Officer, who is credited for developing this concept.
Due to its in-depth learning techniques, the company carries out a similar analysis to determine the purity. It is looking for strategic investors to help it commercialise the service and take the project to the next level.
Both are necessary
Others are also automating the certification process, realizing that colour and purity are the biggest challenges, as the dimensions, shape and carat weight have more standardized measurements.
Sarine Technologies has developed machines capable of determining the colour and purity of a diamond, based on the concept of “repeatability and precision“, all based on the analysis of tens of thousands of stones, the company explained.
At the same time, De Beers and the GIA stressed the importance of supporting the use of technology equipment through the skills and analysis of their gemmologists and certification experts.
“Although we have the equipment to automatically certify colour, purity and carat, it should not be forgotten that all natural diamonds are unique and therefore there are always stones that need further analysis by a certification specialist,” said Jonathan Kendall, chairman of the De Beers Group Institute of Diamonds, who oversees the company’s certification activities. “These specialists are essential not only to certify certain stones, but also to develop equipment that is highly accurate.”
“Similarly, the standards set by the GIA international certification system are most effective when they combine tools and experienced certifiers who apply these standards on a daily basis,” said Tom Moses, Executive Vice President and Director of the GIA Laboratory and Research.
The GIA applies its skills to the automation of certification in certain categories. Thus, the department of analysis of the sample automatically separates natural blended goods from possible synthetic and imitations and sorts the natural diamonds by colour, explains the laboratory. Last year, the GIA entered into a partnership with IBM to test a software application of the technology giant using AI to predict levels of purity.
Haim Volner is of the opinion that DiaCam is different because the company does not have the ambition to become a laboratory. Instead, he believes that laboratories will use the technology to deliver accurate and more consistent certification results than a gemmologist, “who is likely to commit human error“. The technology can also be used by manufacturers, traders or jewellers to achieve a quick and cost-effective assessment of a diamond, which is compatible with a certification report, the company suggested.
“The idea is not necessarily to replace laboratories,” said Haim Volner. “But technology gives companies access to a gemmologist in a machine. Such automation eliminates human error, saves time and money and improves efficiency.“