Yoav Efrat: Sarine’s AI Diamond Grading A Revolutionary Step
Yoav Efrat, Sarine India’s managing director designate, speaks to Solitaire about the game- changing AI-based diamond grading lab recently opened in Mumbai and more.
Why has Sarine chosen to participate at IIJS this year?
Sarine is well established in the Indian diamond industry, so needless to say, IIJS is an excellent opportunity for us to meet all our customers and exhibit our new solutions.
Give us your overview of the current market situation in India and abroad.
I think there are a few key challenges that the industry, as a whole, has to deal with, be it synthetic diamonds and the future impact on consumer behaviour, or recent financing and credit issues that have negatively impacted the local industry and are not yet solved. However, India is still the hub of diamond manufacturing, trading and retail, and I don’t see that this will change at all in the near future. In the long run, I think collaborative efforts are much needed in order to increase trust and make consumers fall in love with diamonds again.
What are your bestselling products in the Indian market?
There are many revolutionising products but Galaxy® is our winner. This product is an amazing scientific breakthrough, enabling us to see and map the internal inclusions of the rough diamond. Before the Galaxy® was introduced, rough planning and cutting was entirely manual. The bestselling Galaxy® product changed the industry forever.
Tell us more about the AI-based diamond grading lab inaugurated in Mumbai.
We have to start with the problem that AI solves. Today, diamond grading can be inaccurate and inconsistent. In particular, Clarity grading is a very complex problem, due to the infinite combinations of inclusions, their size, location, colour, reflections, etc. It is a complex, multi-dimensional problem.
After many years of research, AI grading is our most recent breakthrough. It enables something that was simply impossible before: fully automated Colour and Clarity grading.
But more than the 4Cs, we’ve introduced the Sarine Light™ Performance report and the Diamond Journey™ report that shows the whole journey of the diamond, from the mine to the jewellery store.
These are new solutions offered in our Technology Labs, helping to create a diamond experience that is much more enticing and engaging for the modern consumer.
Could you tell us in detail how the process of AI grading works? Can you specify which aspects of grading have been automated?
Operationally speaking, you place the diamond inside our systems, click to scan, and get the results. It’s as simple as that. The AI technology inside the device is a learning machine that measures multiple factors of the diamond. Then, based on the vast accumulation of past scans and measurements, the AI calculates all these factors into one accurate grade.
The machine learning approach means that we scan thousands of diamonds in order to teach the system how to grade diamonds in a
similar way that professional graders do. This is a very exciting and revolutionary step, and we are delighted to say that the results so far are very satisfying, and significantly better than manual grading.
How will Sarine build the trust factor for customised AI grading reports at the retail level? Will AI diamond grading slowly replace professional grading labs?
Trust is key, and systematic automated technology can really help to boost consumer confidence. For example, two diamonds may have the same 4Cs grading, yet there is a big difference in price. This is difficult for consumers to understand or accept. Also, AI grading is non-biased as it is not subject to human factors, such as mood or eyesight, for example. You can see the effects already with Cut grading, which used to be very inconsistent. However, since the advent of automated Cut grading in the 1990s, it is now taken for granted that Cut grading is very consistent and the technology is used by everyone across the industry.
What are the primary benefits of AI diamond grading? Will it bring down costs and shorten turnaround times?
The clear and immediate benefits are accurate and consistent grading. This will inevitably lead to increased trust and confidence in diamond trading, the consumer experience in diamond buying as well. In terms of the cost of grading, in the long run it may bring costs down. However, today the technology is still new and developing, so it won’t immediately impact the cost or turnaround times.
Does Sarine plan to incorporate blockchain technology to improve diamond traceability?
Indeed, but it is too early to share.
From robots used in mining to machines being used to grade diamonds, and now even polishing them... Do you see the slow but steady elimination of the human element from diamond mining, cutting and polishing?
I don’t see elimination of humans in the diamond manufacturing and grading industries. Take for example the automated polishing machines that have been used for decades, yet people still have an important place in the industry. However, I do believe that the role and responsibilities of professional diamond graders will change with time.