Picture This

June 1998


Picture This

New customer-friendly diamond report redefines the genre with photographic documentation

Try to explain identifying characteristics, dispersion, scintillation or girdle thickness to a prospective diamond customer without eyes glazing over - yours or hers. Now a new diamond grading report developed by Craig Walters and Al Gilbertson could help by showing what these terms mean - in pictures.

"We are not telling customers; we're showing them," says Walters, president of Diamond Profile Laboratory, Portland, OR. For customers, the report provides quantitative answers and details in a format attractive enough to be used as a selling tool. For the trade, it marks a bold new step toward defining the present and future "look" of diamond reports. And it charts new ways in which reports can be used to sell more diamonds.

Jewelers who have used the service are enthusiastic. Jason Guritz of The Diamond Broker, Los Altos, CA, says his customers, many of whom are technically oriented, respond positively. "I use it as a selling tool," he says. "It is so much easier to explain the vast price differentials that exist between different colors and even different cut qualities in diamonds."

Clarity Determinations
While most jewelers have learned how to interpret diamond grading reports, many believe written reports are subjective and open to the grader's interpretation.

While a human grader is always responsible for the final call, at Walters' lab the decision is backed by a photograph that shows the diamond's clarity characteristics.

Barring modest adjustments, reports from top-notch laboratories have not changed their inclusion "plotting" diagrams format in close to five decades, but photographic evidence propels reports into modern times. "With a photograph [showing a diamond's clarity characteristics] your client feels a new level of assurance when they buy," says Gilbertson, who is lab director. Retailers say it makes the selling process easier too.

Color Determinations
Color grading analysis in the Diamond Profile Laboratory takes diamond gemology to a new level. It combines the subjective opinion of a grader with the more objective determination of a Gem Spec imaging spectrophotometer (an instrument created and marketed by Lambda Spec, Milwaukee, WI).

Color determinations are established by comparison with five master color grading sets as graded by the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory.

Cut Determinations
In the face of heavy competition and squeezed profit margins, cut grade is becoming increasingly important, often tilting the scale of a diamond transaction. The Diamond Profile Laboratory grades a round diamond's cut via a quantification of symmetry, dispersion and light return.

Determinations are provided visually and explained in detail on the reverse side of the report. An Israeli-made Sarin Dia-mension machine tabulates a diamond's measurements and facet angles.

Symmetry analysis, a developing gemological science, determines a three-dimensional view of light return and reflection, crucial factors in determining the value of a diamond's cut.

A new patent-pending measurement of a diamond's dispersion is also measured and tabulated with a Gem Spec imaging spectrophotometer. Again, results are shown visually and details are printed on the reverse side of the report.

The Future
New projects beckon, such as tabulating cut information for fancy shapes. Gilbertson says new scales for fancy cuts are being developed and eventually will be part of the service.

At press time, the lab could issue 15 reports a day, with an average turnaround of three to five days. Walters says improvements and additions to the lab's technology should increase output to 60 to 80 reports per day this month. Prices: $110 per stone or $110 per carat for anything over 1 carat.

Walters and Gilbertson say the Diamond Profile Laboratory is a "work in progress" and are grateful for the financial underwriting and commitment they receive from Danny and Henry Kessler of Sy Kessler Sales, Dallas, TX.

Diamond Profile Laboratory, Portland, OR; (800) 991-2378, e-mail diapro@pacifier.com; www.diamondprofile.com.

by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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