London, Dec. 5 (Reuters): Jewellers in the US and Japan may find it easier to entice shoppers to part with their cash this Christmas, thanks to a new counter-top box that claims to let customers measure a diamond’s sparkle.
International dealer Overseas Diamonds has developed an electronic scanner that gives a numerical rating for a diamond’s ability to capture and reflect light, or what jewellers simply call a stone's “sparkle”. The Antwerp-based company also says the device, called the “Isee-2”, will allow buyers to verify the provenance of stones, by reading laser-engraved trademarks and serial numbers.
The launch follows diamond industry moves to boost demand by branding stones and countering concerns about “conflict diamonds”, stones which are said to fund wars in Africa.
Systems of certification for the colour, weight and clarity of a stone exist but Overseas Diamonds say the variety of systems confuses buyers and that all ignore the diamond's sparkle, which is largely the result of its cut.
“Ninety-nine per cent of first time diamond buyers are confused and threatened by the purchasing process,” Overseas Diamonds chief executive Davy Lapa told Reuters.
However, jewellers at Hatton Garden, London's jewellery quarter, were sceptical the device could help business. “People aren’t uncomfortable about buying diamonds... the public are very astute most of the time,” said Berman Stephen, who runs Arlington & Co. jewellers.