AGS lab research moving ahead, lab director says

Austin, Texas—New research will allow the American Gem Society lab to offer better cut grades for rounds and develop new grades for fancies, lab director Peter Yantzer said at a Conclave forum on “AGS Fancy Cut Research.”

“What a difference a year makes,” Yantzer said. “Since last year, we have fortified our research.”

Like the Gemological Institute of America, AGS researchers are developing metrics that will quantify diamond appearance factors like brilliance and fire.

“The metrics are the key to the entire project,” he said. “We have spent a tremendous amount of time trying to define the right metrics.”

The ultimate goal is to develop a “performance based cut grade,” that will compliment or possibly even supplant the current proportion-based AGS scale.

The AGS backs up its research with ray tracing software, Yantzer said. “The optical industry uses and accepts sophisticated ray tracing software model when manufacturing headlights.” He added that the software allows AGS to evaluate virtual diamonds and ‘skin model’ real ones.

AGS is also looking into how people perceive different appearance factors, although this involves solving the thorny question of defining an “average human being.”

“We are going to have to make certain assumptions if we want to go forward,” he said. “A person’s perception of a diamond can change based on their hairstyle. We don’t have the time, resources, and ability to determine how diamonds look to every single person.”