As the industry continues to fear the specter of undisclosed synthetic diamonds on the market, a Hong Kong company says it has developed a low-cost lab-grown diamond detection device.
The device, a pen-shaped laser pointer called the DiamaPen, will be sold for $199 at this month’s Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair by Diamond Services Ltd., the sales arm of EGL Asia. The device uses lasers and can be used only with special glasses.
EGL Asia owner Joseph Kuzi tells JCK that the device delivers a definitive identification for yellow synthetics, but shows only indicators for colorless stones. He warns it won’t replace sending stones to a lab.
“It gives you a hint that these diamonds should be looked at more thoroughly,” he says. “The differences between CVD and naturals are enough to raise a flag.”
The device came about after Kuzi read an article by a German gemologist discussing how lasers can identify HPHT synthetics.
“I said: Why not CVDs?” he says. “I became curious. So I contacted a big company that specializes in lasers and I said let’s go up a bit with the output power.”
After he raised the output, indicators appeared for CVDs as well. And then IGI received that now-infamous parcel.
“The timing was pure luck,” he says. “I was planning to play a little bit more with it, but then there was this noise, so I said, Okay, let’s go out with something. The enemy of the good is the best.”
He does think the device will also work for stones of all sizes.
“The smallest item I got from Gemesis was 39 points,” he says. “I don’t see size being an issue here.”
Lynette Gould, spokeswoman for De Beers, which developed the synthetic diamond detectors currently used by labs, says the company was “aware of the technique” but “can’t really comment on the safety and usefulness of the device any further without testing it.”
Stephen Morisseau, spokesman for the Gemological Institute of America, also says that scientists there had not seen the device.
“Based on our decades of research and practical testing experience with different synthetics, reliably distinguishing synthetic diamonds from natural diamonds requires a well-trained staff in a fully equipped gemological laboratory,” he says.
Kuzi says that he hasn’t shown the DiamaPen to any other labs or scientists but will in the near future.
“Right now, my mailbox is now flooded,” he says. “I do plan to send it to all the good guys.”
“I don’t think what I have now in my hand is the final word,” he says. “I am sure everyone will continue to play with it. But there is definitely a direction here.”