It is with great pleasure that I share with you the latest addition to our assessment of cut quality. This is perhaps the most important tool in our arsenal because, besides being the lighting environment with which GIA used to determine their cut grading system, it shows the viewer, with their own eyes how to see and assess the optical characteristics of brightness, fire and scintillation.
Although we perform many scope and technical analysis on diamonds, if it doesn't pass the test of human eye observation, we disqualify the diamond from our inventory/purchase
As pointed out in the grahic above the GIA DiamondDock uses direct l.e.d. (light emitting diodes) lighting for the observance of fire and scintillation.
Observing the diamonds is simple. The diamonds are laid in a neautral gray tray while the observer rocks and tilts the diamonds to observe the phenomena. This is the final phase of our optical exam and what we deem as most important.
Here are 2 diamonds side by side in the l.e.d. lighting. Moving the diamonds gives a more dramatic presentation of the fire than this static picture does.
After examining the diamond for fire/scintillation we turn off the l.e.d.'s and turn on the daylight fluorescents to examine brightness.
Here is a side by side shot of the same 2 diamonds. The difference is easy to see in the static picture however rocking the 2 stones makes it a more dramatic comparison.
These 2 diamonds are of a GIA Ex next to a GIA Fair. Since GIA has based its cut grading on face up appearance (a very logical approach), they have provided to the trade an excellent tool with which to judge face up appearance in the product of the DiamondDock and we use it daily in our presentations and purchasing decisions.
While the DiamondDock was built with the purpose of cut analysis in mind, the equipment takes on a dual role for the gemologist for color grading.
You can easily slide out the diffuser tray in the dock, insert the middle shelf and it serves as a perfect environment for grading diamond color. GIA provides the flat white background for easy observation of color.
In conclusion. With the DiamondDock one can easily assess light performance with their eyes. While there are intruments on the market that offer a more critical exam of cut (akin to taking a VVS or VS under the microscope), at the end of the day the consumer only goes home with one of these technologies and that is their own 2 eyes plus the diamond they purchase. Additionally, if a diamond scores one way on a certain technology yet does not appeal to the individual's eyes, the technology always takes back seat which is why human observation is the most important and most critical part of any examination on cut.
Before we acquired the DiamondDock we have always performed observation testing on the diamonds we consider for purchase utilizing diffuse daylight and direct l.e.d.'s for our examination. We have found the lighting within the DiamondDock to be the best balance of brightness and intensity we have come across amongst the various lighting options available for assessing cut quality although there are some good alternatives out there as well.
I especially liked the choice of backdrop color used for the DiamondDock. Over the past 25 years we've been selling and showing diamonds we have experimented with white trays & black trays. Extreme color variations as a backdrop can alter a diamonds natural appearance favorably or unfavorably and before the DiamondDock we used to use a transparent tray which allowed the neautral background of the observers skin as the backdrop. GIA's decision to use a neautral gray has the identical affect and was an extremely wise choice in the design of this instrument.