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Reflector Technologies


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Chapter 1


Preamble:  Major portions of this chapter on History were gained as a result of my conversations and notes with Mr. Al Gilbertson (who has a rich background regarding the history of reflectors and their development and is currently serving as a research gemologist on the GIA Cut Grading team),along with feedback from Craig Walters and Kelsey McLeod who were involved with Al in the early research of reflectors that developed into Diamond Profile Laboratory) It is our honor to feature their portions of this story and involvement in the development of this technology.

Japanese Origins 





Back in the early 80's rumors of "Russian Cut" or "Russian Make" diamonds were being purported in the industry wherein loupes were supposedly used containing "red rings" in them which they used for purposes in their cutting.  The red reflected into the diamond and showed the cutter reflective properties in the diamond which they would use to gain as much internal reflection as possible, thus producing a brighter stone. The earliest known distribution of this loupe was found in a 1982 supply houses catalogue by the name of Rubin & Sons and marketed as an "Okuda Loupe" which fits that description.  Today, a supply house, Kassoy supplies such a loupe and is marketed simply as a "proportion loupe" which looks like this and is supplied with the following chart to demonstrate what to look for in appearance.




Kazumi Okuda was president of the Okuda Jewelry Technical Institute in Japan.  An institute which featured classes on diamond grading under the name "Diamond Inspection Association".  Okuda had also developed a microscope which incorporated an attachment wherein he could see this phenomena in greater detail except reportedly the reflected color was green. He had developed a chart wherein a student could determine the amount of and distribution of the green within the diamond to determine cut quality. This was first promoted in the summer of 1980.  In the thumbnails below is a graphic of the microscope and charts used for Okuda's analysis.





The chart reveals a system consisting of 5 grades.  Colored reflection of 90% or higher was considered the top grade and in this system there was no darkness due to lens reflection which we would later see introduced in the FireScope™


Unfortunately Okuda did not patent his devices but by 1984, two gentlemen who saw the value in his creations did submit for patent along with adding further interpretation to the images.  Tsuyoshi Shigetomi and Kazuo Inoue submitted a patent application which claimed that the device was "for judging precious stones such as diamonds with ease, especially enable judgment of quality of cut... In case the color red is employed, the diamond which presents more red light has more reflecting light, and therefore it is the diamond of better brilliance. On the other hand, if more white part is seen, it means that the light from the light source passes through the magnifying glass as it is, and thus the tested diamond can be judged as an article of inferior brilliance.”  It worked on a relatively simple principle.  Diffused white light came from under a tray in which diamond rested.  The diffused light was reflected into the diamond off of a red covering overhead.  A lens was placed in the center of the covering to observe the reflection.  The observer saw three colors when looking through the lens—red (the reflection of the overhead covering), white (those areas of the diamond that allowed light to pass through –classic leakage), and black—a reflection of the lens.  The device was the FireScope™.  The patent was granted in 1987



The FireScope™




It was during the mid 80's when Mr. Shigetomi was attempting to both sell and point out the virtues of an ideal cut diamond to a Sony Executive, Mr. Takanori Tamura.   After many failed attempts, in 1984 he presented this device the FireScope™ and its use to Mr. Tamura who was immediately sold.  Mr. Tamura became so fascinated that he himself eventually came into the diamond business and made it his goal to seek out and find the most beautiful diamonds to sell with his new FireScope.  After long arduous & frustrating months of searching among the inventories of the worlds finest cutting houses in both American and Europe, the best stones he could find were three diamonds around .10ct in weight which had the seemingly perfect FireScope images he was looking for.


Finding diamonds of this caliber became a daunting task and virtually impossible to find.  This eventually led to the creation and opening of the first cutting facility that focused on cutting diamonds for optical symmetry and light return (or 3 dimensional ideal cut) and the opening of EightStar Diamond Company in Japan.  Attempts to market the FireScope™ internationally proved to be unfruitful as most diamond suppliers were not happy with how their diamonds looked under it.  This should come as no surprise since the greater majority of diamonds being cut then (and even now for that matter) had excessive leakage and poor optical symmetry as observed in the image below.



A company by the name of JDM was the marketer and manufacturer of the FireScope for a number of years.  At its introduction in 1984 it was accompanied with an instruction manual which broke down diamond classifications into 7 categories.  The manual taught that in order for a diamond to have good brilliance a proper amount and distribution of red needed to be seen in the diamond as well as a table reflection which constituted approximately 1/3 of the size table as seen in the pavilion through the viewer. This step was indicative of seeing good symmetry. The additional premises include that the "reflection of the star facets as a ring of butterfly shape patterns around the reflected image of the table" are important but not as much as the grayish/black eight pointed star. “Maximum internal reflection and minimum extraneous incident light producing the phenomenon of a beautiful grayish-black eight-pointed star extending out to the edge of the girdle.”   The brochure also noted: “The most vital factor in determining optimum light reflectivity is the angle of the pavilion facets.  An ideally-cut diamond will exhibit the eight-pointed black star shown in the photograph above.” 


Here is the original graphic used in the brochure:




Here is a graphic demonstrating this phenomena as well and outlining the details from the above description:




Here is a table with the breakdown of the 7 types as outlined in the original FireScope™ manual:



Type A

Allowed the table reflection to go to 50%.

Type B

Table and stars reflected red, but the upper girdle facets were transparent, indicating steep crowns. 

Type C

The reflection of the table filled the table area with many dark areas, and these stones are commonly referred to as dark centers.

Type D

Large black areas are reflected in all parts of the diamond.

Type E

There is an apparent hole in the middle, with a shadow of the girdle reflected just inside the table edge.  These are fisheye diamonds.

Type F

Very irregular patterns due to poor symmetry.



In 1990 Kinsaku Yamashita filed for two new patents.  The first of which would be the very first Hearts & Arrows viewer and the second to be a variation of it.  Yamashita makes some curios comments in the text of 5,196,966 as he describes what he considers to be limitations of the FireScope and therefore why this patent is an improvement. 


In particular, a diamond of interest is placed between a magnifying glass and a light source. A red disk which is centrally provided with a hole is mounted to the side of the objective lens of the magnifying glass. The light from the light source is directed to the disk so that the light may be reflected to the diamond. If a large amount of red light is observed, then the gem is taken to be excellent in brilliance.


However, the fringes of the diamond observed with this implement are quite simple, i.e., composed of white, black, and one kind of red. Shining portions are red in color. Those portions which are not shining are white in color. It is impossible to know the nature of black portions. Usually, changes in the intensity of light should produce changes in the density of the fringes, but the fringes observed with this implement are uniform in density. Furthermore, no three-dimensional characteristics are observed. In this way, this known implement does not permit one to judge the brilliance of diamonds sufficiently precisely.


Interestingly, more modern research has now taught us precisely what the nature of the black portions are (more on this in the upcoming chapter on What Information Can Be Attained from the Reflectors) and with the development of DiamXray™ we can now see the changes in density that were not observable in FireScope™ technology thus determining the intensity of the brightness among the facets of the diamond.  Yamashita goes on to say...


A photograph is attached to a written statement (see below illustration) of an expert opinion on a diamond. This photograph is taken by a camera placed above the diamond while illuminating it from below. In the produced fringes, the brightest and least bright portions appear black to the naked eye, while the other portions appear whitish. This photograph has the following disadvantages.




(1) Those portions which should appear brightest are black like in a negative film of a black-and-white photograph.


(2) Those portions which should be brightest and those portions which are least bright are equally black in the resulting image. Therefore, it is completely impossible to know which portions are really bright.


(3) The white portions in the photograph should have contain portions of varied degrees of brightness. However, these varied degrees of brightness produce little changes in the density in this photograph. Hence, almost no difference in brightness can be seen in the white portions. This also totally deprives the fringes of three-dimensionality.


In this way, this photograph is very difficult for laymen to understand though this situation may not apply to experts.


Yamashita goes to explain that his invention will limit light entry into the diamond from 20° to 50° and that will tell the observer more about the diamond.  “In any case, it is important that a gem of interest be placed inside the container such that light enters it from only the directions lying within the range of angles of 20 to 50 degrees about the line vertical to the gem. In other words, the fringes of interest can be clearly seen only if the gem is placed in the container satisfying these conditions and if the gem is observed or photographed while positively directing the light into the container.”



Other graphics from Yamashita's patent:


These two patents are the beginning of the hearts part of the hearts and arrows viewers. 



American Influence and Development


EightStar then opened its first American based cutting facility in 1990 by Richard Von Sternberg, a former professor and colored gem stone dealer. EightStar was primarily supplying the Asian market as demand for these were highest there and the "Hearts & Arrows" concept had not yet caught on in the American market.  It wasn't until the late 90's that "super ideal cuts" and the "AGS Triple Ideal" started becoming more popular (AGS Laboratories opened it's doors in 1996) on the American market although they still represent a small percentage of actual diamonds cut in the world. Reflector based technologies were primarily available in until the late 1990’s.  In the , Firescopes were the first reflector based technologies and slowly others came in on the heels of the Firescope.  By the mid 1990’s small hand held reflectors were seen at various trade shows. 


 Al Gilbertson

In 1992 Al Gilbertson visited a jeweler (Tom Jones of Jones and Jones Jewelers, Portland OR—the very first US EightStar dealer) and saw his first FireScope.  Al’s interest began as a use of the device; not only as a 
predictor of appearance, but also that the images seen in the FireScope were fingerprints unique to many diamonds.  He felt that inclusions in combination with the reflection pattern provided a unique method by which a diamond could be identified.  He contacted Richard Von Sternberg of EightStar to see if Richard would sell him one or perhaps work with Al to market them to the trade.  At the time, Richard wasn’t interested.  




Al’s interest continued in the FireScope and later he contacted Kazuo Inoue (one of the inventors of the FireScope, who was manufacturing it at the time) in Japan to see if he might work with Al.  They exchanged several faxes, but arrived at no agreement. 


In 1995, an appraiser local to Al, by the name of Craig Walters stopped by Al's office to visit and mentioned that he was headed to Japan to run a marathon.  Al inquired if he would be interested in stopping by the JDM firm and acquiring a FireScope for his own use and study. Shortly thereafter they were back at Jones and Jones Jewelers so Al could show Craig the FireScope so he would become acquainted with it.



 Craig Walters, Martin Rappaport & Al Gilbertson

 When Craig and his running mate (who happened to speak fluent Japanese) arrived in Japan they did indeed visit the JDM office and acquired a small box that attached to a Tamron FotoVix (an unusual type of digitizing scanner). The FotoVix converted negatives or slides  into NTSC video output for viewing on a TV monitor or recording to tape, but could also scan or photograph small objects for macro use. Still pictures could be taken and viewed on a PC through use of a video capture device.  Al bought the FotoVix so they could use the device from JDM.  The attachment from JDM captured a photo of a diamond placed in the box that had the appearance of a diamond viewed in a FireScope.  The quality of the images captured was not particularly high, so for reports, they looked fairly grainy. Nevertheless, images of diamonds were captured by Craig and Al in the FireScope simulator and eventually this would evolve. 


Craig had been manufacturing CZ master grading sets sold by Sy Kessler Sales (GemOro).  Craig had conquered a problem faced by other suppliers of CZ masters—a reliable consistent source of varied graduations of yellow cubic zirconia.  He had acquired three diamond master sets against which these CZ sets were compared.  He was also using a Gran Colorimeter (that belonged to Al) to double check the grades assigned.  With the new idea that cut might be able to be evaluated in diamonds, Craig approached Al and asked if Al might consider being a partner in a lab for grading diamonds, focusing on cut grading.  At the time, Al had over 50 accounts that he provided appraisals for and did not feel he had a lot of time to work on a project of that nature.  However, Al felt it had some merit and agreed to work with Craig as a consultant, eventually selling the PhotoVix to him.  They drew up a contract that outlined how Al would consult and help with training and grading in the new lab.  This was the beginnings of a lab then known as "Diamond Profile Laboratories" or DPL for short.  It would eventually be sold to another appraiser, Don Palmieri, the owner and operator of Palmieri Group Companies and was later sold to Collectors Universe in late 2005.


Craig was excited by the possibilities.  In talking with Al, they had determined that if they captured the image and then counted the pixels of white and expressed them in a ratio against the black and red pixels, they would have an expression of light leakage, or lack of light leakage (which Craig later decided to refer to on reports as brilliance).  They contacted a programmer and had a program designed that counted the pixels and started testing their theory.  Kelsey McLeod, Craig’s nephew worked with them as the in-house computer expert (officially the report production manager), digitizing images and trying to improve them.  


 Kelsey McLeod

Kelsey and Craig determined that just because there was minimal leakage in the face-up position, it did not guarantee minimal leakage when tilted.  After some experimenting with tilting the diamond and taking the images and comparing the amount of leakage, they determined that titling a diamond about 20 degrees worked quite well.  They observed that some diamonds leaked quite a bit when tilted, whereas some diamonds actually leaked less when tilted (compared to their face-up position).  They determined that they should take two readings—face-up and tilted and average them.  Using that averaged number, they saw a good correlation to general appearance in their own eyes.  They came up with 6 grades for brilliance based on different amounts of leakage.  This is true of the FireScope today—you can see where the light is leaking (white areas in the image).  They figured out a way to “measure” the area of the surface that was leaking and give it a relative value. 


    With the FireScope type images Kelsey was able to produce, it further intrigued the use of the images to discuss symmetry.  They analyzed the images and came up with 6 grades for symmetry, based on different types of patterns of black and red. The images being captured were not a high quality and Kelsey worked to improve this.  They had started taking pictures of identifying inclusions as well as side profiles of the diamonds to put on the reports and Kelsey wanted to use the higher resolution cameras to take the symmetry pictures.  The pictures through the FotoVix were not good enough.  Kelsey took a ping pong ball and cut it in half, drilling a hole in the middle, and painted the inside of the ball red.  Looking though the camera lens and the painted ping-pong ball, they found it provided the same type of image the FireScope and FotoVix did.  The images could be taken at a higher resolution.


    When Kelsey made the breakthrough, Craig walked the ten blocks to show Al what a diamond looked like by looking at it through half of a ping pong ball (with the inside painted red).  As Al looked at a diamond and examined the ping-pong ball, he asked Craig, “Can Kelsey paint the inside in different colors, like ¼ of the hemisphere one color, another ¼ a different color, etc.?  Or… how about the top part of near the hole, one color and varied concentric rings going out from the hole in other colors.  We would want to know the angle range of each ring.”  Craig went and asked Kelsey and they tried this. 


    If Professor Okuda could be considered the "Father of Reflector Technology" then Al Gilbertson could be considered the "Father of the Angular Spectrum Reflectors" because it was Al's ideal to begin incorporating multiple colors in the reflected images to determine further data about diamond cut that was not yet explored until that time. What about these multiple colors?  The theory, as Al saw it at the time, was pretty simple.  Diamonds draw light from all around them.  They consist of multi-faceted mirrors.  Directly overhead, there is an observer that in many cases blocks some of the light from overhead.  Generally, in most environments, light tends to be bounced off of ceilings and come from above.  In that case, why not color the inside of the ping pong ball with a color near the hole that is different from colors that are lower, thereby differentiating where the light was coming from that lit the diamond up and see how the diamond was interacting with light.  If a diamond gathered light from low angles, it should be dark, Al theorized.  The problem was that there were a lot of variations possible.  How far down in the panorama surrounding the diamond was the light significant to the diamond’s appearance? They tried various configurations. 


Here are some graphics experimenting with dividing the ping pong ball into halves or quarters (later we will show the concentric circles).  One  half of  the inside of the ball is white (appears bluish in these pictures) covering the 0-180 degree span while the 180 to 360 degree zone is red.  In essence a ping pong ball with the following painted configuration on the inside akin to this.





shallow diamond

deep diamond

ideal cut diamond



They later added more colors and divided the reflections into 4 quadrants. 
White representing the 0-90° zone.
Blue representing the 90-180° zone.
Yellow representing 180-270° zone.
Red the 270-360° zone.




which produced the following images.


shallow diamond

deep diamond

ideal diamond



In order to produce a viable report on cut, they needed to be able to report the angles and proportions of the diamonds being graded, as well as understand what some of the images might mean. Sarin had just announced how its machine could “measure all the angles of a diamond.”  They purchased one are were immediately troubled.  Their research had shown that the lower girdle facet angles, the upper girdle facet angles and the star facet angle seemed to have an impact on the appearance of some diamonds.  They contacted Fred Fisch of Sarin Technologies who told them that at that time, no one was interested and until the trade was interested in measuring the smaller facets, Sarin wasn’t planning on doing so.  Al mentions this in a round table discussion on cut, hosted by GemKey in late 1999:  "At DPL, we used a Sarin and found that we desperately needed information it was unable to provide.  I can tell you that the critical issue of lower half facet angles and lengths as well as star facet sizes and angles have a strong influence on results and that until they can be measured accurately and consistently, the only way I found to evaluate the results of cutting was by optical results.”  Finally, Sarin has heeded this advice with the release of their DiaVision software and tweaks on software/hardware to allow slower and more accurate scans of all the facets.


As Craig worked more towards the building of a lab, he was also concerned about correct color grading.   Even through he was using three large master sets of diamonds (each was a 10 stone set) and had access to Al’s Gran Colorimeter, he wasn’t satisfied.  Craig became aware of a device being touted as being able to correctly evaluate even subtle nuances in color.  In 1996, Craig decided he wanted to purchase the $50,000 LambdaSpec device.  It was touted in their advertising as “…this revolutionary system provides a scientific color definition for over 120,000 pixels in all, it records an entire spectral response for each and every point of the gemstone… not only precisely identifies the average hue, it determines the primary and secondary hues with the same repeatable accuracy. You can also use our system to provide color definition for any specific portion of a stone. It's even sensitive enough to detect pleochronism [sic], highlighting polarization to determine the crystal axis.”  


One day, Craig called Al and asked if Al could come over to the lab to see the new device.  Randy Wagner was there, setting it up and they were going to need to calibrate it to color grade diamonds.  When Al got there, they tested a couple of the diamonds Craig used as masters and Randy pointed out how one diamond was actually a faint pink because the LambdaSpec was saying there were a certain number of red pixels present that it had counted.  Al asked to be shown the actual image being captured.  The diamond being shown displayed fire with lots of the flares of color being red.  Al and Craig explained to Randy that those were caused by dispersion and that until those pixels (for fire) were removed from the calculations, the color grade could not be correct.  Randy went home, changed the programming and came back to Portland a few weeks later.  As they sat around the machine, Craig asked what he had done with the pixels for fire.  Randy said they were just thrown away and ignored.  Al asked if they could look at a screen of just the fire pixels.  When Randy arranged for that, the first display for fire was made for what eventually became the BrillianceScope. 


On July 1, 1996, the first grading report from Diamond Profile Laboratory (DPL) was issued.  This was the first lab to generate a diamond grading report that purported to evaluate the performance of the diamond based on reflector technology and its interpretation. 


1997 DPL Report

Inside cover A

Inside Cover B


DPL continued in Portland for a while, but since it is not the “Diamond Mecca” of the US, business was sporadic.  Funding for continuing the lab was tight and Craig brought in the owners of Sy Kessler Sales (two Kessler bothers, Danny and Henry) who had been buying and marketing his CZ master sets.  They felt they should move the lab to a location where there were more diamond dealers.  Al did not want to move with them (remember that he was not an employee and his only contract with them was to supply consultation) and they felt they needed someone to help direct the lab and help move them into the diamond market, so they searched for a potential director.  Interviewing a few prospects brought them to Joe Tenhagen who was the then current president of the Diamond Dealers Club in Miami.  Joe met with Craig, Kelsey and Al in a suite rented by Craig at the 1998 JCK show in Vegas.  The multi-color application was still being studied by DPL and Al spent a couple of hours explaining what they had learned up to that point.  The move was then made to Miami.  Soon after, DPL issued a new version of their report, showing images taken from a multi-color reflector. 


2000 DPL Report


The ideas were too new and much of the science was still in a research phase.  In 1998, Al and Craig had spoken to the ISA conference in San Diego in the spring and then Al had spoken to the ASA conference in Hawaii in August. ( see p 6).  Part of the 16 page handout (written by Al) used at the ISA conference talked about the eye and how it processed images (it included excerpts from Seeing the Light, by David Falk, Dieter Brill, and David Stork).  After a brief discussion, the handout states, “The point of this discussion is not that our above hypotheses are right, but that how our eye operates to receive and process an image greatly impacts our perception.  Regardless of how scientifically we analyze light, and compute all the best angles, if our eye doesn’t ‘like’ what we see, it doesn’t matter much.  DPL is dedicated to researching these areas (within our capabilities) and basing its grading criteria on this continuing research.  At the present… light leakage needs to be minimized… dispersion perception is much more subjective when we think in terms of beauty…  Have we explored all that the eye perceives in a diamond?  Of course not, but understanding the eye’s perception is just as critical as understanding what light is doing.”  Al had come to believe that it was necessary to use observations of real diamonds and compare that with the multi-color maps to determine the types of patterns of light return that people preferred.  That didn’t happen because DPL needed to move on and could not afford to keep researching.  At the ASA conference the handout was written by Al, Craig, Kelsey and Mary Wildman (former GIA instructor, wife of Jeff Wildman, who makes and sells various gemological instruments).  The modified material didn’t discuss the human eye—just the DPL report and some of its research.  DPL moved to Miami and Al stayed in Oregon. 


DPL’s venture in Miami was short lived and Craig and Kelsey were back in Oregon by 1999.  DPL moved to Dallas, the Kessler’s headquarters and was sort of moth-balled until Don Palmieri purchased it from the Kesslers a couple of years ago.  Don is using the report successfully and it is found in wide use on the internet today.


The current report uses a variation of the multiple color approach initiated by Al. 


2005 DPL Report


Meanwhile, Al sought to improve the concept of the multiple colors.  While at DPL, they had painted the inside of the ping pong balls with red rings at ten degree increments, in order to determine what angles were the most important (see 0-90° zone example chart below, click on the thumbnail for a larger image). 

deep stone

shallow stone

ideal stone

They also painted the insides by quadrants or every ¼ of the inside with different colors in order to explore certain symmetry deviations they were seeing (see chart below). 

Inside of reflector split into quadrants.

shallow diamond

deep diamond

ideal diamond

What is awesome about this testing is that we can see preciely what facets are reflecting back light from any given direction of input.  





Al had been part of the Gemological committee that had set up the AGS lab in Las Vegas.  He was also part of the AGS lab’s cut task force to study how to evaluate fancy shapes (started in 1999).  GIA asked Al to provide a poster session at the 1999 symposium on the research (At the poster session, Al shared a lot of what he had looked at—from the quadrant coloration to the systematic determination of light entry angles.).  At the symposium, Al met with Richard Von Sternberg.  Richard had worked some with DPL and was familiar with some of things it had done.  The multi-color reflector was new to him.  Al felt it could be improved and wanted to coordinate it with the FireScope, patenting an improvement for the FireScope.  Al & Richard struck an agreement.  Just after symposium the cut task for AGS (these included such people as Gabi Tolkowsky and Pete Yantzer) was meeting.  At the meeting, during a break, Al showed Pete what he had been working on.  Pete introduced the idea to the task force and asked Al and Richard to submit a proposal. 


Al had set up a website to communicate some of the information going back and forth (there were no links within the website, so unless you knew an exact address, access was limited to those who Al was in contact with).  Some of the pages from that website were printed off and here are some of the copies of that material (not all of it that was on the website is available).  (See Gem Profile’s website images below.)  Al felt that if we were to look at the diamonds in real environments and determine what people liked and didn’t like and then compare the multi-color images, we could determine what angles and proportions would be best for different shapes.  The multi-colored images were a map back to the best angles, once they knew which diamonds people liked.  

Explanation and analysis of a round and a pear.

 0-45° entry

 45-55° entry

 55-65° entry

 65-75° entry








This was the foundational research upon which AGS' ASET was founded. 

GemKey (now-defunct) hosted a “round table on cut in late 1999.  Al questioned some of the discussions going on when he said—“The real question is--what is being done to scientifically demonstrate what is the best overall cut for a round diamond?...Just because light doesn't leak out the bottom of a diamond and just because that diamond shows a symmetrical pattern in a viewing device, does that mean that light is efficiently gathered from around a viewer and returned to them in it maximum potential from that diamond?”  He felt that there was not enough evidence to link the two.  Al explains, "What has not yet entered into the discussion is how our eye and brain work together to view these phenomena.  There are many new areas related to how the eye and brain work together that should be discussed before we can arrive at such definitions.  I may be able to have an instrument that quantifies the actual lumens a diamond reflects to my eye.  In reality my eye may not see what that instrument says exists."  He pointed out "The FireScope doesn't tell you how effective light is gathered and returned to a viewer unless you do a lot of work with its images."   He had found that "The most essential elements are that neighboring facets need to be returning light to the viewer from different entry points.  The more different the entry angle the more dramatic the observation.  The second critical element is that the reflections seen by the viewer be large enough to be easily distinguished from neighboring reflections.  If all of the facet’s reflections are very small, the diamond will merely have a fuzzy appearance."  (Quotes from various GemKey discussions—all by Al)  


It was during these GemKey talks that Sergey from MSU contacted Al and asked if they could use his lighting arrangement in one of their models for DiamCalc.  Al gave permission and it is still found in DiamCalc (as “Al Gilbertson” under the category of special view ) as well as their new GemAdvisor under “more options”.  They were unaware that there had been many configurations and mimicked the one he had used on his website for discussions.  They also didn’t know about his “quadrant” coloration. 


It was about this time that GIA approached Al and asked if he would be interested in working with them on their cut project. 


AGS later purchased the rights of the patent that Al started.  Al assigned the rights to Eightstar when he went to work for GIA.  Prior to that, he had some contact with Michael Cowing and introduced Michael to EightStar to finish up the work he had started with EightStar and AGS.  Al’s patents are 6,665,058 and 6,795,171.


AGS has several related patents pending: 20050213077, 20050200834, 20050190357 and 20050190356.


In the year 2000 I was introduced to EightStar and began working with the FireScope™ in June of that year.  One of my other passions happens to be photography and I immediately took to the FireScope™ and began studying diamonds under it along with it's optical effects as well as photographing and cataloging the diamonds we stocked and sold. The very first tutorial we wrote on the FireScope (and the first public Internet tutorial showing images from it) at that time can be found at this link.  The Ultimate Diamond Information Site was to play a small part in reflector based technology as the first website to feature FireScope™ images of the individual diamonds they had for sale. Our experience photographing under reflector based technologies is quite extensive as well as learning about what these instruments teach us from a gemological perspective which takes us to our next chapter.

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Article Contents
The Various Reflectors on the Market Today
What do Reflectors Teach Us?
The Pitfalls of Reflector Technologies