IGI Now Providing Cut Grades for Fancy Shapes
The lab said more attention is being paid to a diamond’s cut, and that interest extends beyond round brilliants.
After piloting the program with a small group of clients, the lab said it will now add the service at all 20 of its laboratories worldwide for the following nine shapes: pear, oval, marquise, princess, heart, emerald, square emerald, square cushion modified brilliant, and cut-cornered square modified brilliant.
It will be optional for manufacturers for a six-month period.
“For many decades, carat, color, and clarity were the main points of emphasis with consumers,” IGI CEO Roland Lorie said.
“In recent years we have seen increasing attention drawn to cut, first with rounds and now with fancies. IGI has proactively responded to the growing demand for this assessment, in the interest of better serving buyers and sellers alike.”
The lab said while light behavior in round diamonds can be predicted using measurements, cut grades for fancy shapes are less common due to more “underlying complexity.”
The Gemological Institute of America currently doesn’t issue cut grades for fancy shapes but Al Gilbertson, GIA research associate and diamond cut expert, told National Jeweler, “Research into a scientific, standards-based cut grading system for fancy shape diamonds is a very active pursuit at GIA.”
AGS Laboratories does cut grades for three fancy shapes: princess, oval, and emerald.
The Gem Certification & Assurance Lab does provide cut grades for fancy shapes, and in the spring, expanded its new cut grade standard, 8X, to oval and princess-cut diamonds.
The lab said cushions would be next.
For its fancy shape cut grade, IGI said it has developed a four-step system combining proportions requirements with visual assessments; it is explained in a video on the lab’s website.
According to the video, the first step is traditional assessment of polish and symmetry followed by proportions qualification, with IGI noting it will provide manufacturers with “Guidelines for Excellent,” detailing the fancy shape parameters observed to create the most beautiful diamonds.
The third step is what IGI described as “additional requirements” that are shape specific, while the fourth and final step is light return grading.
Because of the optical variety in the various fancy shapes, IGI said the cut grade will not be an assessment of fire or scintillation but instead “fundamental light behavior”—how much light the diamond returns when compared with other diamonds of the same shape.
IGI Laboratory Director Benoit Scheyvaerts said: “We use proportions ranges to identify candidates for the Excellent grade, but our gemologists are now evaluating light return, in addition to polish and symmetry.
“Given the wide optical variety of fancy shapes, this is not a dispersion or scintillation analysis. It is a basic assessment of overall light return versus darkness.”
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