< BACK TO THE DIAMOND BLOG MAIN PAGE
03
December 2017

Like? Share!

Clarity Grading – How Technology Can Help Diamond Retailers

Sarine Technologies recently announced its venture into diamond grading. With the use of advanced technologies, diamond grading is entering a new era of reliability and accuracy. As part of the interactive multimedia Sarine Profile™ digital diamond report, clarity grading will also move into new territory, becoming an exciting, visual and easy to understand component of the diamond. This is the key to helping retailers promote their diamonds on the sales floor. In honor of the new expanded Sarine Profile™ report that will include automated intiutive clarity grading, we’re reprising a favorite post from last year, in which we discuss the breakthrough technology behind clarity grading. Enjoy!

When exploring Clarity Grading, it’s important to begin with a general understanding of the 4Cs. Until the mid-20th century, there was no standard approach to assessing the quality of diamonds. This changed in 1953, when the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) devised the 4Cs grading system, based on the diamond’s Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight. The 4Cs concept rapidly gained momentum and became the internationally accepted grading standard of the diamond industry. Let’s take a closer look at the 4Cs:

Carat

Carat is a weight unit used to measure diamonds and gemstones. It was formally adopted in 1907 at the Fourth General Conference on Weights & Measures in France, and soon spread across the globe as the internationally recognized standard.

Carat weight is a unit of mass equivalent to 0.2 grams. So, a 1 carat diamond is equivalent to 0.2 grams (200 milligrams). Smaller diamonds are often measured in carat points. There are 100 points in every carat. A 10-point diamond weighs one-tenth of a carat, or 0.02 grams. As a general rule, larger diamonds are more expensive than smaller diamonds. However, diamond pricing is affected by all 4Cs, so a smaller diamond of higher clarity and color, or a small superbly cut diamond may be priced higher than a larger, lesser quality diamond.

Cut

In their natural state, mined diamonds are rough and unpolished. Over hundreds of years, diamond cutting has evolved as both a science and art, using precise techniques and cut styles to maximize the beauty and value of the polished diamond.

The most common cut, appreciated for its classic appeal and ideal proportions, is the round brilliant. It features the traditional ‘table’ top, widening to the crown (top half), and then narrowing gradually below to form the pavilion (bottom half), all the way to the point tip, known as the culet.

Diamond cut is graded on a scale ranging from Excellent to Poor. Cut grade is determined by the diamond’s proportions and symmetry, which directly affect the way the diamond returns light to the viewer. For example, a pavilion that is cut too shallow or too deep will not make optimal use of light, reducing the diamond’s brilliance, and will therefore have a lesser grade.

Color

During the long formation process deep in the earth, the diamond develops a natural hue. In its most perfect and prized form, a diamond is colorless and pure. However, this is rare. Most diamonds develop a tinge, whether slight or more obvious to the eye, as a result of the diamond’s chemical make-up or defects to the structure of the crystal lattice.

Over the past 100 years of diamond trading, diamonds have traditionally been sorted according to Color. The Color grading spectrum ranges from Colorless, which presents as a transparent bright white, through to Dark Yellow, the lowest Color grading.

Clarity

However beautiful to the naked eye, most diamonds develop internal flaws and external blemishes during the natural formation process.  Internal flaws, known as inclusions, may occur due to structural imperfections or the presence of crystals from foreign materials, causing a cloudy or milky appearance. External blemishes include cracks, chips, scratches, nicks and ‘naturals’, the term given to flaws on the original rough stone that were not polished by the diamond cutter.

Most inclusions and blemishes are very tiny, not visible to the naked eye. Yet whether internal or external, even tiny inclusions and blemishes can disrupt the travel of light as it enters and exits the diamond, affecting the clarity appearance of the diamond in significant ways.

The Clarity standard, used in the international diamond industry, presents a grading spectrum ranging from 0 Flawless (FL) to 10 Included (I3).  Diamonds at the Flawless end of the spectrum are highly desirable and more expensive.

Clarity Grading Using a Technological Approach

Clarity grading has traditionally been determined by a diamond specialist who examines the diamond through a loupe (jeweler’s magnifying glass), and grades the diamond by comparing it to the standard Clarity grading scale.

 With the advent of technologies in every part of life, it is no surprise that technologies are also a part of diamond grading. In fact, Cut grading was revolutionized in 1992, with the introduction of DiaMension™ to the market. It was the first software in the world to provide automated and computerized measurement of the diamond’s proportions – the most critical aspect affecting Cut grade. DiaMension™ changed the way that polished diamonds are assigned their Cut grade, enabling levels of accuracy never before seen or achieved. Today, almost every gem lab in the world uses DiaMension™ technology to derive the Cut grade of polished diamonds.

Last year, a new technology was announced that may well bring the same revolutionary changes to Clarity grading as DiaMension™ did to Cut grading. Sarine Clarity™ provides automated, objective Clarity measurement and grading. Based on comprehensive computerized mapping of the diamond’s inclusions and blemishes, Sarine Clarity™ provides grading capability that is non-biased and accurate.

In developing this technology, research included intensive studies of assorted polished diamonds by a team of gemologists, followed by a much larger sample size of diamonds to obtain deeper information about clarity measurement. When results proved to be inconsistent, due to the subjectivity and human limitations of grading diamond clarity, the research developed into the next stage with a much larger pool of gemologists and graders.

After years of trials and examinations, a buildup for a clarity grading algorithm was finally underway, and along with a wide assembly of new data, a dependable clarity grading system could be constructed. Wholly computerized, the clarity grading process need no longer be vulnerable to subjective, human perception. The Sarine Clarity™ system has also been developed with the capability to sort the diamonds into sub-categories according to pre-defined criteria, so each diamond can be targeted to its ideal sales market.

Clarity grading, enhanced by technology, and used in conjunction with the experience and expertise of the skilled gemologist, will continue to play a central role in describing the diamond’s unique character. And as part of a broader, up-to-date digital diamond experience, advanced clarity grading will be a key component to the retail diamond industry.

 

Subscribe to the Diamond Blog

Get the latest technology, grading and retail news straight from the source, straight to your inbox.


MORE FROM THE DIAMOND BLOG

SPECTRUM – Diamond Industry News #24

This edition of Spectrum diamond news and trends is a fascinating roundup that takes us deep into the debate about lab grown and mined diamonds, then 750 kilometers beneath the earth to where blue diamonds form. From there we travel into the minds of millennial consumers, with a recent study about their jewelry buying habits. […]

World Famous Jewelers Series Part 2: Tiffany & Co

The name Tiffany & Co. evokes thoughts of little blue boxes, glass lamp shades, and for those who know, the Super Bowl’s Vince Lombardi Trophy. The store is famous for its Tiffany setting engagement rings, chain bracelets with an engraved heart charm, and delicate pendant necklaces. Where did this legacy start? Who is the man […]

Diamond Manufacturing in China: Sarine Galaxy®Lab Opens in Guangzhou City

China is the world’s fastest growing diamond market. Retail sales of jewelry, gold and silver increased 6% year on year, to just over $3 billion this year, as reported by the Chinese Statistics Bureau. The province of Guangdong, and specifically Guangzhou City, are a locus of this booming activity. Guangdong: The Heart of Diamond Manufacturing […]

Social Media for Jewelers: 4 Questions to Create Your Social Media Marketing Plan

Today, social media for jewelers is a critical part of any marketing strategy. For jewelery retailers, social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, are fast becoming the number one platform for reaching your potential customers. Billboards, radio ads and print ads still may have their place, particularly for jewelers in small towns, or […]

World Famous Jewelers: The Names Behind the Designs. Part One: Harry Winston

Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Harry Winston – all famous jewelers and household names. We see their designs on the red carpet, along with Boucheron, Fabergé, Piaget, and many more. These companies are more than just brand names; they were the passion and brainchild of people who loved high quality, stylish jewelry, and who wanted to […]

The Sparkling Enigma: Ancient and Modern Diamond Myths

Diamonds are steeped in myth and legend. From the moment diamonds were first discovered, their power and mystery have intrigued us humans. Throughout the centuries, different diamond myths have emerged from different cultures. Even today, with so much scientific knowledge about diamonds at our fingertips, there are various beliefs about diamonds – many of them […]

3 Things You’ve Probably Never Seen Before in a Diamond Grading Report

The diamond grading report has been in use since the 1950s, when the 4Cs concept was first introduced. Today, diamond reports are a common accompaniment to any diamond sale. The grading report, issued by a gem lab, is regarded by consumers as a kind of “ID card” for the diamond. Diamond grading reports give consumers […]

Advisor® Tender 1.0: The First Offline Rough Planning Software that Supports Windows 10

Diamond tenders, held in the main diamond trading hubs of the world, are the place where rough diamond traders and manufacturers inspect and purchase rough diamonds. These rough diamonds will be planned and cut for future sale in the polished diamond market. Every buyer at a diamond tender aims to purchase rough diamonds that will […]

SPECTRUM – Diamond Industry News #23

Welcome once again to SPECTRUM, our periodic blog series focusing on a roundup of all the latest diamond industry news and trends. You know, we do this every month to two months, and no edition of SPECTRUM goes go by without a piece of fascinating news about diamonds from the world of science. Whether its […]

What Is Diamond Light Performance?

What Is Light Performance? Light performance is the visual effect created by the play of light as it enters and exits a diamond, moving, bending and reflecting within the stone’s facets. Light performance is a unique concept to diamonds. Unlike other gemstones, a diamond’s appearance is directly impacted by the way it interacts with light. […]