Look Out GIA: De Beers Opens Grading Lab for Trade

De Beers has debuted the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research to the trade at large

Get ready for a new addition to the industry’s alphabet soup of grading labs—IIDGR, the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research. But what is most interesting is the name behind it: De Beers.

Today, De Beers formally opened the IIDGR, which in the past has mostly issued reports on behalf of De Beers’ Forevermark brand, to the trade at large.

What makes the new lab different, says De Beers spokesperson David Johnson, is that it relies heavily on technology for grading. It uses automated devices for all color grading. A machine grades clarity from I3 to VS and is used as a “grader aider” for higher grades.

Human graders aren’t left out, though; they double-check the results. “If there is a discrepancy or the grade is near a boundary, the diamond will go through the system again,” Johnson says.

The labs are differentiated by their “technology, reliability, integrity, and repeatability,” Johnson says. “It is the focus on ensuring a grade that comes from the Surat lab is the same as those that come from other labs. Having the machine and the machine element ensures the integrity of the process. You can’t have someone subjectively soft-grading the stone because the machine would grade the stone as well.”

Turnaround time is intended to be quick, he adds.

De Beers currently has three labs—in Maidenhead, United Kingdom; Surat, India; and Antwerp, Belgium. The company is initially targeting the Indian, Far East, Middle East, and European markets and may station take-in windows in those markets.

A U.S.-based lab may be possible down the road, Johnson says.

“It is the very early days of the launch of the service,” he says. “We’ll see what the demand and uptake is.”

The new lab “should have commercial benefits and also support diamond equity within the trade,” he adds.

(Photo courtesy of International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research)

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