An Israeli high-tech company has invented a machine that it says can instantly grade the clarity of polished diamonds—a development the company said Thursday will bring new standards to a painstaking process that has long been susceptible to the subjectivity of appraisers.
Sarine Technologies Ltd. said its system, currently in advanced large-scale testing in India and expected to be marketed toward mid-2017, will revolutionize the global diamond industry by enhancing consumer trust in each diamond's valuation.
The system will simplify the clarity grading process and provide accurate and objective mapping of the polished diamond, said chief executive and executive director Uzi Levami.
"Instead of a human looking at the diamond from various angles, maybe the light is not so good, maybe he drank too much coffee, so he is making a mistake," he said. The machine can "make the final decision for the grade of the diamond," he said.
He said diamond dealers still need to provide other services, such as determining a diamond's authenticity. "So this will help people but not replace people," he said.
Israel does not produce diamonds itself but is a leading polishing and trading center and was among the founders of the Kimberley Process—the global body responsible for ending the trade of "blood diamonds" that fund fighting across Africa. The Israel Diamond Institute claims to have the world's largest diamond trading floor.
Roland Lorie, chief executive of the International Gemological Institute, a global diamond certification body, inspected the new machine on Thursday.
He said it could help the industry as a time saver, but expressed doubt that it could give an accurate grading because there are so many tiny details to analyze.
"You need the brain of a person to identify what is more, what is better to see, what do you prefer to see," he said. "I think it will take a long, long time for a machine to be able to replace a human being."
Sarine's technologies are well known in the diamond industry and the company spends $10 million a year on research and development. Its "Galaxy" machine is widely used by manufacturers to measure the inclusions in rough diamonds.
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