Moscow Conference Considers Cut

There was surprising consensus on the sometimes divisive issue of cut at a first-ever conference on the topic held recently in Moscow.

The purpose of the conference, organizer Gerry Holloway says, was to look beyond the technical issues and make sure cut controversies don’t hurt consumer confidence. “We don’t want this conflict situation where consumers get five different stories on cut from five different stores, and then they go online and it gets even more confusing,” he says. “Then in the end, they decide to go on a holiday and don’t buy a diamond at all.”

The conference drew 60 attendees, including scientists from nearly every major lab except the Gemological Institute of America. While the conference had some disagreements—particularly over the term “Ideal cut”—in general there was considerable harmony, which Holloway credits to an opening speech by Belgian cutter Gabi Tolkowsky.

“Gabi pulled everybody together and stopped the potential for rivalry among the various players,” Holloway says.

In that spirit, the Antwerp Diamond High Council (HRD) agreed to develop a master stone set for cut grading. The set will illustrate various features of basic light response, proportions, and symmetry.

There were also presentations on the new AGS cut grades for rounds and fancies, which will likely premiere in mid-2005.

The groups also discussed the possibility of “reverse engineering” diamond cuts from a piece of rough. “We might be able to devise different triangular or pear shapes that could rival the round brilliant,” Holloway says. “We can increase yield on those stones and everyone will be a winner.”

Yet while the conference was successful, Holloway isn’t looking forward to a sequel. “Hopefully this will be the last one,” he says. “I’m very hopeful that, with the communication that has been established, we won’t need to do it again.”