Amitabha Das
Head Operations – IIDGR, Surat

Synthetics and treated diamonds are polluting the entire diamond supply chain. On one hand, retailers are to be blamed for sourcing them directly from the market and on the other, manufacturers have to bear the brunt of not having the technology and means to verify the authenticity of a diamond. Cost-cutting in this segment hurts the business, so it’s a no-brainer to invest in top-of-the-line technology. De Beers’ International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research (IIDGR), with its state-of-the-art technology, compliance and transparency, has gained the trust of manufacturers internationally. In the session titled, ‘The importance of authenticating what retailers sell: The IIDGR certificate’, Amitabha Das, Director Operations, IIDGR, delved deep into distinct work ethics and standards of the IIDGR that enables the organisation to deliver the highest quality and authenticity of diamonds.

IIDGR ensures the De Beers confidence through its accurate, consistent and innovative services. This is possible due to a combination of the most advanced technology and human expertise to make certain that the exquisitely crafted diamonds that reach retailers and eventually, customers, are genuine and untreated. Das explained, “We grade diamonds with certificates, look after unique inscriptions to establish integrity and traceability of each diamond, promote sales and service of De Beers’ detection equipment and also perform melee testing with proprietary equipment supporting De Beers technology.” With the latest De Beers technology, IIDGR has provided solutions to identify the infusion of simulants, synthetics as well as treated diamonds. Das pointed out that IIDGR ensures the same standard of diamond certification at all its labs across the globe where cross-verification of human skill and technology eliminates the scope of any error in process and certification. “IIDGR also has a patent over the unique table inscription that ensures diamond integrity and traceability,” he added.

Explaining the technological and operational excellence that IIDGR has achieved over the years, Das opined, “In 2008, we came up with the grading and authentication services for Forevermark, De Beers’ brand of diamonds, and De Beers jewellery. We developed Diamond Sure, our first detection equipment, in 2008 and opened it to the trade in 2012. In 2014, we developed a one-of-its-kind detection equipment, AMS1, and that very year, De Beers set up a laboratory in Surat, its first outside Europe.” The Surat lab began operating officially in 2015. “In 2016, we were listed in RapNet and brought out two revolutionary detection instruments, AMS2 and SYNTHdetect, the latter primarily for jewellers.”

The technological brilliance of the Surat facility is commonly known in the industry. Das said, “The facility has been endowed with a solar panel that reduces carbon footprint and emission. It has 22 metric ton of measuring, analytical and detection equipment and a capacity of 5.5 lakh inscriptions, 3.5 lakh grading and certification and 50 million melee tasting annually. The staff have undergone one-year trainings in Antwerp and U.K. to understand the philosophy and techniques of De Beers.”

IIDGR has never compromised on the performance and accuracy of their detection equipment, filled in Das, and referred to stringent equipment grading – low to high value – basis the degree of detection that they perform. “The PhosView came up due to the high infusion volume of HPHT synthetic diamonds in the Indian market. This low-value instrument accurately detects HPHT. The AMS2, which is 10 times faster than the AMS1, detects 3600 stones per hour and also differentiates natural, untreated stones from synthetic stones and simulants with a 99.75% accuracy. The SYNTHdetect can track Simulants, HPHT & CVD diamonds, studded, rings, bangles and stones of any size. The Diamond View 3F can detect all types of synthetics while Diamond Plus can detect all types of colour-treated diamond. These equipments are being used by most world-renowned labs today,” Das added.

With undisclosed simulants and synthetics threatening the manufacturing and supply chain pipeline, IIDGR’s services ensure complete authenticity of diamonds. “The unique table inscription does not change the physical, optical and mechanical properties of a diamond. We provide our patented service to Forevermark diamonds, generic grading to retailers and other diamond manufacturers and girdle inscription and table inscription when specifically requested by customers,” explained Das, and shared images of different grading certificates.

‘IIDGR has come up with training modules to share De Beers’ 128-year diamond journey. This includes a foundation course of 4 weeks, followed by a one-day lab course, which can be on synthetic diamond grading, 4Cs workshop and a 15-month diamond grading course,’ informed Das. Das’ presentation included a video from Jonathan Kendall, President, IIDGR, who spoke highly of the Surat facility and how its state-of-the-art technology had been benefitting Indian jewellers. He also elaborated on the integrated and highly secure work environment at Surat and looked forward to spreading the IIDGR goodwill across India and the rest of Asia.