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IIDGR’s proprietary technology gives polished diamonds unique identity

07 november 2017

jonathan_kendall_xx.jpgThe International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), a unit of the global diamond giant, De Beers, grades natural stones and is also using its proprietary inscription technology to inscribe a unique identification on tables of each stone used in the “diamond bullion.”

Company president Jonathan Kendall told Rough & Polished’s Mathew Nyaungwa in an interview that the minuscule inscription made it difficult to forge the identity of a polished diamond.

This, he said, provided “assurance” regarding the natural origin of each diamond and physical attributes.

Can you shed some light on your proprietary technology and how it works?

The table inscription is a proprietary technology, unique to De Beers. The discreet, proven approach, applies a minuscule inscription to the table of the diamond, visible only at greater than 10x magnification.

The application of the inscription to the table gives each diamond a unique identity that is forgery-proof. This means that each diamond can be easily identified, thereby providing assurance regarding the natural origin of each diamond, as well as the information regarding the diamond’s physical attributes.

In what way is this technology different from the existing methods?

The inscription is applied using a method that is proprietary to De Beers, using a particular technological approach. However, the details of the technology are confidential intellectual property.

Why is it necessary to have this technology? In other words, what purpose does it serve?

The technology enables each diamond to receive a unique, forgery-proof inscription, allowing each stone to be easily identified. This means that, once the diamond has been tested and graded, the inscription (which contains a unique serial number for each stone) provides a simple and effective system for providing assurance about each diamond’s natural origin and physical attributes.

How much reliable and forgery-safe is the technology?

As this is a proprietary technology, unique to De Beers, only De Beers has the knowledge of how to apply it to a polished diamond. As such it is a forgery-proof solution.

Will this technology add to the value of diamonds inscribed?

This technology is not focused on value of the diamonds, but rather on providing additional assurance and verification.

What are the chances of the technology aiding diamond prices?

This technology is not focused on value of the diamonds, but rather on providing additional assurance and verification.

Apart from the Far East where else are you getting demand for your grading services?

Demand for IIDGR grading services has come from a range of international locations as there is increasing awareness of the service as well as recognition of the accuracy, consistency and repeatability that it provides. However, demand has been particularly strong in East Asia to date.

You have laboratories in three global locations, Antwerp, Surat and Maidenhead. Any plans to expand your operations to Africa?

As things stand, we have sufficient capacity in our three existing facilities in Antwerp, Surat and Maidenhead. However, if demand for our services continues to grow as quickly as it has to date, we may look at additional locations in due course.

How many diamond grading partnerships does IIDGR have with retailers and do you see the number increasing?

Alongside the numerous grading partnerships, we have already established with a range of leading retailers in international markets, we are seeing strong growth in demand for our grading services and every month we are signing up new clients around the world. We expect to see continued strong growth in both the number and the geographical spread of retailers using our grading services.

Is the demand for this technology a sign of lack of confidence in KP’s efforts to fight illicit diamonds?

No, the two are completely separate. The Kimberley Process is a system for tracking the movement of rough diamonds across international borders. Meanwhile, the IIDGR inscription technology is applied to polished diamonds, giving each one a unique serial number so it can be quickly and easily identified, thereby providing assurance about natural origin and physical attributes once the diamond has been tested and graded.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough & Polished