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Pandora hires new Chief Commercial Officer

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27 march 2020

David Block, CEO of Sarine Technologies believes that AI will play a bigger role in the industry in the next few years

10 march 2020

david_block_xx.pngArmed with an MBA degree from the Kellogg-Recanati School of Business, and a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the Tel Aviv-Jaffo Academic College in Israel, David Block is the present CEO of Sarine Technologies, a worldwide leader in the development, manufacture and sale of precision technology products for the global diamond and gem industry.

For the last 18 years, David Block has been associated with Sarine Technologies in various senior positions in Israel and India. Until 2009, David Block held the position of CEO of Sarine India, managing over 70% of the Group's revenues.

From 2012 until his appointment as CEO in 2017, Block served as Sarine's Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer, with responsibility for global operations and sales.

Prior to joining Sarine, Block worked at several major Israeli hi-tech companies in the management of large-scale development projects.

Here, in an interview with Rough & Polished, David Block speaks about some of the new products launched in the past few years as well as about Sarine’s plans for the future.

Some excerpts:

As a pioneer of groundbreaking technologies to diamond manufacturing and grading processes, what new products has Sarine launched in the last couple of years?

In the last couple of years, Sarine introduced many new solutions that have reshaped of the diamond industry, initially in manufacturing and more recently in retail. Our Sarine Profile™ family of solutions are changing the way diamonds are being sold at the store to provide a unique Digital experience. Sarine also introduced the first-ever automated AI grading of diamonds to offer a new level of consistency and confidence.

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Sarine Profile report in the store                                                                                                  Image credit: Sarine 

During the last couple of years Sarine introduced several important solutions for different segments of the pipeline:

• Sarine Diamond Journey™ Traceability - enhancing the Diamond Journey story to add non-declarative verifiable traceability of the diamond from the mine to the consumer.

• Galaxy® Meteorite Inclusion Mapping Systems-Bringing the revolutionary Galaxy technology also to the smallest rough diamonds sized from 0.25 to 0.40 carats for diamond manufacturers, to provide an accurate 3D model of the rough stone, including internal inclusions down to VS type, and external surface flaws.

• Galaxy® Tension viewer - advanced technology that enables accurate 3D scanning and mapping of tension in the internal structure of rough diamonds. Enabling manufacturers to consider the actual location of tension in rough diamonds at a much earlier stage of the production process, ensuring a safer, more profitable sawing process.

• Verto - 3D jewelry AI-powered jewelry imaging service that enabled to create amazingly professional 3D digital jewelry experiences using only a mobile device without any need for complex imaging system or any post-processing.

• Sarine’s TruMatch™ diamond fingerprint recognition system - to deliver diamond security & build consumer confidence. The new in-store system provides a secure verification for diamonds, whether loose or already set in a jewelry piece. The system identifies a unique digital ID, then verifies that the diamond’s “fingerprint” matches the ID data stored in a digital vault.

Can you throw some more light on your recent products like ‘Sarine Diamond Journey™’; ‘Light™ Performance and the new imaging technology like ‘Verto’?

The diamond industry is at a crossroad, requiring a total transformation of the way diamonds are tracked and sold. Trends like online purchasing, consumer demands to disclose diamond provenance and diamond traceability, as well as have a richer in-store experience, are putting pressure on retailers.

The Sarine Diamond Journey solution displays the fascinating transformative story of a diamond, displaying in an engaging visual manner how it’s being transformed from a rough stone until the consumer receives a beautiful polished gem. Also, our Provenance Traceability solution can verify in a technological & verifiable manner the diamond’s origin.

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Verto, 3D jewelry AI-powered jewelry imaging service                                                                Image credit: Sarine

To further enhance the consumer experience, Sarine provides an optional add-on to the Sarine Diamond Journey™, the 3D-Origin™ model. This identical physical replica of the rough diamond that was used for manufacturing the diamond provides the consumers with a tangible memory of the original unique rough stone that was used to create the unique diamond.

• Light Performance: The Sarine Light Performance solution provides a scientific grading of the diamond’s beauty. It is the most accurate and comprehensive way to determine a diamond’s visual beauty and appeal.

• Verto’s AI-powered jewelry imaging service allows creation of state-of-the art, high-resolution 3D models of jewelry using a simple camera or mobile device and a special calibration sheet. Detailed 3D models are automatically generated using Verto’s technology, requiring no special expertise by the user.

In your opinion, how has Artificial Intelligence (AI) changed the diamond industry in recent times? How has Sarine used AI to add flexibility to the diamond pipeline?

Last year we opened up our first grading labs, where we now grading Clarity and Color commercially using our proprietary AI & Machine Learning based systems. This machine learning grading approach provides unparalleled consistency and repeatability and are crucial to give the industry confidence in 4C grading.

We believe that AI will play a bigger role in the industry in the next few years, and we will be able to elaborate more in next few months.

How does Sarine’s cloud system provide in-store experience to consumers? Give more details please.

Sarine developed a robust cloud infrastructure to provide our interactive digital reports so that retailers can offer consumers an engaging Omni-channel experience.

The modern consumers are digitally native and expect a new level of experience and information. Having reports that are available on the mobile phone or tablet, make consumers feel ‘at home’ and in-control, thus enabling a more relaxed shopping experience.

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Using Verto on a mobile phone                                                                                                   Image credit: Sarine 

In a crowded labs scene with high competition, how has Sarine Labs fared till now? How many labs have been opened worldwide to date? With Russia aiming to expand its diamond manufacturing sector, does Sarine plans to open a lab there?

Sarine AI Lab is the first ever technology driven, automated, artificial intelligence-based diamond grading lab. Sarine opened until now two labs, one in India and one in Israel.

We are constantly exploring our global customers’ needs and how we can provide them easier access to our wide range of services, including grading.

This is even more so in Russia, where are working closely with the main industry players. Besides, we believe that diamonds grading will go through a dramatic transformation in the next few years and that there will be new opportunities to provide a more efficient and consistent grading services to clients globally.

The Indian diamond manufacturing is in a state of flux at present, with many companies entering LGDs manufacturing as well. Will this change the dynamics for Sarine’s services to the sector in any way or remain ‘as is’, going forward? Your thoughts?

Most of our manufacturing solutions can also be used for Lab Grown Diamonds, so this is another segment that we are now serving.

Also, on the retail side, the growing need to differentiate the natural diamond from a lab grown one, creates a demand and interest in our Diamond Journey & Traceability solutions. Besides, concerns about diamonds authenticity, help us promote our new diamond fingerprinting solution (TruMatch).

The diamond industry has a place for both products (natural and LGD) as long as they are fully disclosed and differentiated to avoid confusion and cannibalization at the retail level.

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 Sarine’s TruMatch™ diamond fingerprint recognition system                                                            Image credit: Sarine

Sarine recently came out of the red and recorded profits apparently due to high demand for its Galaxy diamond-mapping equipment. Is Sarine in the process of launching any such ‘game changing’ product soon?

We cannot provide details on solutions that was not made public. Yet, as an innovative company that for the last 30 years constantly brought new solutions to the market, and spends a large percentage of its revenues on R&D, I can reassure you that we will continue our path and bring revolutionary solutions that add value to the industry, challenge existing preconceptions, and help retailers sell to the new consumers.

Is Sarine facing Patent & Copy Right infringement by manufacturers globally or only from India? What is the current status of the lawsuits filed by Sarine some years ago? And, what steps is Sarine taking to prevent such intellectual property theft in the future?

While I cannot provide details about this, I can make a clear statement that Sarine will take any actions and continue to defend its IP rights wherever it will risk our business and the business of legitimate players that use our solutions.

As an example, we recently filed additional lawsuits for patent and copyright infringement against manufacturers of IP-infringing Galaxy machines.

See: http://sarine.listedcompany.com/newsroom/20200202_230358_U77_BNZOTKCMXEN1ASQS.1.pdf

Our strong and uncompromising response will ensure that these threats will pose minimal impact to our business.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished