Demand for lab-grown detection inside retail stores is prompting the industry to produce smaller screening devices, De Beers’ innovation unit said in a LinkedIn Live this week.
Watch the recording of the LinkedIn Live:
Jewelers increasingly want the instruments in their back offices or on the floor of their stores, giving them and their customers more peace of mind when transacting.
“We’ve definitely seen overall in the industry that instruments are getting smaller,” said Danie Kruger, commercial products and services lead at De Beers Group Ignite. “From a retailing point of view, it’s become the ask, just because of front-of-store [demand].”
This trend is less visible higher up the pipeline, added Kruger, who was a guest on the LinkedIn Live on Tuesday, sponsored by De Beers Group Ignite. He joined Samantha Sibley, De Beers Group Ignite’s technical educator, and Rapaport News Editor Joshua Freedman for the online discussion.
The sector has also seen a shift toward screening of finished jewelry, creating new complications for instrument producers.
“Ten years ago, a lot of the instrumentation was lab-based or [at] very large wholesalers,” Sibley noted. “So [there’s] definitely more demand in that retail environment. And then of course it’s all dependent on the finished piece. So measuring a single solitaire ring is a lot easier than a very intricate design with diamonds all around and underneath.”
The event came ahead of De Beers’ delayed launch of its AMS Micro device, which uses robotics to screen melee as small as 0.001 carats. The existing AMS2 — part of the Automated Melee Screening (AMS) — works only for 0.0032-carat and larger stones.
De Beers had planned to launch the AMS Micro early this year, but after a postponement expects to deliver the first instrument “within the next couple of months,” said Kruger.
“What’s important from a De Beers point of view and with any of our instruments [is] that we’re 100% happy with the handling [and] the measurement before it’s launched,” said Sibley.
The company expects to sell at least 15 machines in 2024, Kruger added.
Main image: Melee diamonds in a tray of the AMS Micro machine. (De Beers Ignite)