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Guide to Gem Lab Reports: Paper Mates
In the very near future, every decent gem will need a gem lab pedigree and grading reports will be an integral part of diamond romance.


Peter Yantzer, director of the American Gem Society diamond grading lab in Las Vegas, sees a future where grades for diamond cut are as mundane and mandatory as those for color and clarity.

Asked to dream aloud about the future of diamond certification, he envisions a day, one or two years shy of 2010, when jewelers will be able to type diamond measurement data from a Sarin machine, or its equivalent, into a computer and know in seconds its likely AGS cut grade. And he's not talking only about conventional round brilliants. He's talking about cut grades for princess, emerald, pear, oval, and marquise shapes—"all the generic cuts," as he puts it.

Wait. Yantzer is only getting warmed up. After introducing cut grades for all the traditional diamond cuts, he is hoping to spearhead development of AGS cut grades for the most established branded cuts like the Leo and Solasfera that have been carving out niches in the market. The outcome: cut grades for every commercially meaningful diamond cut.

Is Yantzer's dream realistic or farfetched? And do consumers today really care enough about crown and pavilion angles, symmetry, and light performance? Yes. Science is adding to the sizzle of diamonds and diamond selling.

Since the beginning of this year, GIA has been issuing cut grades for every standard round brilliant that it grades. Unconfirmed rumor has it the lab will eventually expand into other shapes. That the inventor of diamond grading as we know it has seen fit to require all round brilliants to be rated for cutting marks an historic point of no return for diamond evaluation and, ultimately, diamond valuation.

GIA's move is a sign of just how important the cutting revolution has become. In addition to AGS, other competitors have already either introduced cut grades or are preparing to do so. IGI offers a "Light Return Analysis" report for round and princess cuts and is researching separate light performance standards for other fancy cuts. By year's end, EGL is planning to unveil its own light performance analysis reports consisting of ratings for what it calls brilliance, radiance, and contrast, as well as overall light performance.

If the leading labs have embraced cut grading, isn't it logical to assume that such ratings will soon be a standard feature on all reports? But the future of gem grading isn't just about gemology. It's also about marketing. Brace yourself for an epic battle of the brands, as gem labs duke it out for consumer awareness and loyalty.

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GIA Laboratory
Making the grade: GIA Laboratory in Carlsbad, California, and New York, now issues cut grades for standard round brilliant diamonds.
IGI light return analysis report
Light performance has become a key factor in new diamond reports. IGI now issues light return analysis reports for round and princess cuts.
GCAL gem grades
New technology and cutting standards have led to more sophisticated measuring methods. GCAL’s reports include features such as light performance profiles and Gemprint identification marks.
Garry Du Toit testing LIBS unit
Colored gemstone testing and certification has become increasingly important in the global marketplace. AGTA GTC’s Garry Du Toit is testing a gem specimen using a new Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope unit. LIBS brings the cost of beryllium testing in corundum down to reasonable levels.
Diamond ring from Abe Mor Diamond Cutters
Science and romance: Diamond ring from Abe Mor Diamond Cutters, (800) 999-7835.
Blue Sapphire