Professional Jeweler Archive: I Too Can See!

December 2004


I Too Can See!

When selling diamonds, ISee2 becomes your store's interactive partner

Even the most powerful hurricane season on record didn’t dissuade jewelers from across the U.S. from going to Orlando, FL, this summer. They went for a symposium about a new phenomenon in diamond selling known as ISee2. Overseas Diamonds, Antwerp, Belgium, developed the system and sells it along with its diamonds to a growing base of retailers in the U.S. The company says retailers use ISee2’s technology to enhance the consumer buying experience and increase diamond sales and profits. You also can use ISee2 to brand your own line of diamonds.

Techies Delight

The process begins when Overseas Diamonds, a Diamond Trading Co. client, chooses rough meticulously, records provenance and uses rigorous standards to cut the rough into round brilliant diamonds.

Then the diamonds are subjected to the patented ISee2 diamond analyzer, which evaluates cut and assigns a repeatable grade. This is done so the diamonds can achieve the ISee2 machine’s highest “beauty score” (which ranges from 1 to 10). ISee2 diamonds must score 9.0 or above to receive the ISee2 quality mark (pictured at the top of the image on the next page).

These diamonds receive a quality label (or mark) and have certificate number inscribed on their table. The mark is made through a proprietary microscopic radiation technique, invisible to the human eye, that doesn’t affect the clarity of the diamond.

You can use that quality mark to brand diamonds with your own store name. “I’ve used our machine since March and can say it has definitely made us look more professional in consumers’ eyes,” says William C. Sites of Sites Jewelers, Clarksville, TN. “Consumers in our area are technically savvy, and this technology just blows them away.” His store sells this top echelon of diamonds as “Sites’ Ultimate Ideal Diamonds.”

Jewelers say the system works because it demystifies diamond cutting by showing consumers differences among top-quality cuts. A final grade helps them understand what they see and why prices differ. It also gives sales associates a tool to sell up.

Sites familiarizes all of his sales associates with the ISee2 technology and philosophy. “We ran a contest to see which sales associate used the ISee2 machine the most,” he says. “We sent the winner to Orlando to attend the symposium.”

De Beers Weighs in on ISee2 Cut Grade Philosophy

The symposium drew praise from the De Beers Group. “What we at the Diamond Trading Co. like about ISee2 is its focus on the beauty of a diamond, which moves away from commoditization and focuses on what is important,” Stephen Lussier, DTC director of consumer marketing, said during a video presentation at the symposium.“ISee2 also gives the retailer a chance to become the expert and to easily discuss the art and science behind cutting. ISee2 can do this better than other products in the marketplace.”

David Lapa, president of Overseas Diamonds and developer of ISee2, says De Beers’ recognition is important. He also says ISee2 has garnered respect from diamond grading labs, including those of the American Gem Society, the Gemological Institute of America and HRD in Antwerp, Belgium. “The ISee2 diamond fits into the top grades of each of these labs,” he says. “For these stones, several labs have agreed to print the ISee2 logo on their certificates.”

How it Works

At the sales counter, the ISee2 analyzer is coupled with computers and ISee2 software to wow consumers with comparative information. First, you introduce customers to a computer screen with detailed information about color, cut, clarity and carat weight.

As consumers grow comfortable with the information, you get to the real action by showing and comparing two diamonds. The analyzer captures 15 images of a diamond per second in a range of diffused lighting conditions. This results in an objective grade and side-by-side images on the computer. At this time, you introduce consumers to the microscopic quality mark.

When a consumer decides to buy, the purchase is reinforced by independent laboratory certificates and documents that track the diamond’s origin, original weight, manufacturer and production date. Every effort is made to show a consumer the diamond is special because it was tracked and documented from the mine to the moment it is in his or her hands.

“We love the computer technology because it’s so much faster and more colorful and lively than the charts other jewelers pull out,” says Kimberly Jones, a sales associate at Justice Jewelers in Springfield, MO. “It’s all very interactive with consumers. The word I hear from them the most is ‘wow!’”

Justice Jewelers brands a line of diamonds called “Elexese” and plans to unveil the “Justice Masterpiece Diamond” soon.

ISee2 Mindset

Overseas Diamonds’ David Lapa is fond of saying ISee2 technology is not what’s important. What is important, he says, is what the jeweler does with it.

Lapa emphasizes that jewelers still need to create outstanding shopping experiences for their customers and to try to understand everything possible about them, including changing demographics, factors that influence their buying habits and how this jibes with store branding.

  • Overseas Diamonds, Atlanta, GA; (678) 990-7470, overseasdiamonds. com.

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

A computer screen captures the hearts-and-arrows patterns of ISee2 diamonds.
Another computer screen compares the light return performance of two round diamonds. It also scores brilliance and scintillation and comes up with a final cut score for each diamond. The ISee2 diamond on the left scores better (9.1 out of 10) than the one on the right.
These diamonds each have ISee2 quality marks but are available to retailers who want to develop their own store brands.

All photos from Overseas Diamonds

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications