Friday, June 13, 2008

Task Force Aims to Establish Diamond Grading Standards

A group of gemological experts recently held a meeting in Las Vegas, forming a Task Force to establish international technical standards for diamond grading, including inter-lab comparisons.

The move was initiative by the Accredited Gemologists Association, in reaction to “consumer dissatisfaction with inconsistent grades and a specific concern that current procedures used to color grade fluorescent diamonds result in grades that are inaccurate, unscientific and misleading,” the parties said in a release.

Its principal objective was to determine standard light sources for grading fluorescent diamonds; however, it was revealed that while the experts agreed that lighting standards must be re-examined, the urgent need for clearly defined technical procedures went far beyond this.

Gemologist Antoinette Matlins commented that the Task Force determined a need to establish illumination standards and procedural guidelines for the lighting used in grading diamonds and gemstones and to develop systems to ensure compliance among labs claiming to adhere to established standards.

The team will gather additional data on the broad area of lighting and its impact on diamond and gemstone grading, explore possible alternatives and carry out inter- lab comparisons.

AnchorCert Diamond Certification, a division of The Birmingham Assay Office in the UK, has agreed to draft the protocol for “round robin” testing, and start the process with GCAL in New York. Michael Allchin, CEO for The Birmingham Assay Office said, “The diamond industry needs proper international standards in order to provide comparable, meaningful and credible diamond certification.

“Modern diamond grading relies upon expertise coupled with sophisticated technical equipment. It is as much about scientific measurement as personal judgment, and it makes sense for the technical aspects of grading to be more tightly defined,” he said.

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