Cutting-edge tech helps Sarine add sparkle to diamond grading

SARINE Technologies, the Singapore Exchange-listed Israeli diamond specialist technology firm, is making rapid advancements in the automated grading of diamonds.

The company’s research and links with the Israel Diamond Institute’s technological centre have already resulted in products that help diamond manufacturers, dealers and jewellers assess the quality of their diamonds.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is currently the global standard for the grading of diamonds.

Sarine’s plans, however, indicate that the company could make inroads into this market.

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“The days of dry, technical, non-intuitive diamond reports are coming to an end,” said Sarine’s chief executive officer David Block.

“Our new reports can provide consumers with a more reliable and coherent way to buy diamonds and diamond jewellery, and can support the entire diamond pipeline with a new level of accuracy,” he added.

Despite current products and new product development that could ultimately push Sarine forward as a serious potential long-term competitor of the GIA, its turnover and profitability have fallen this year.

The result has been a 70 per cent slump in Sarine’s share price on the Singapore Exchange from a peak of S$3.11 in 2014 to current levels of 94 cents.

The initial surge in Sarine’s share price from 27 cents, when it was listed in 2005, to the record of S$3.11, or a price earnings ratio of 40 at the time, illustrated the confidence in Sarine’s products and also excessive expectations of brokers and investors.

The slide since then reflects a more realistic appraisal, given tough conditions in the diamond industry and a slowdown in sale of products.

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Seeing inside the gems

Galaxy, regarded in the industry as a highly impressive product, was launched in 2010. It has internal 3D scanning facilities that can be likened to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in medicine.

The technology, is different from MRI, but the Galaxy detects fault lines within rough diamonds, according to Oren Ben-Kohav, the head of Sarine’s global operations.

The Galaxy equipment enables diamond polishing manufacturers to effectively see inside the rough diamond, he explained.

They then can plan how to polish and cut and even divide the stone into several high quality and high priced diamonds that don’t have inclusions.

By 2016, Galaxy equipment sales and services were about 50 per cent of group revenue with about 80 per cent of this recurring, according to Singapore-based Lee Teong Sang, who handles investor relations for the company.

“This business is far from saturation but with a large installed base of over 300 machines, growth has moderated,” He said.

Sarine has already begun profiling polished diamonds with detailed reports for diamond dealers and jewellers.

The Sarine Loupe, an imaging and inspection system, captures a polished diamond, including its internal features, in simulated 3D.

“It enables buyers to view the polished stone from a multitude of angles and at varying magnifications and simplifies the buying process,” Sarine stated.

Another prospect is the Israel Diamond Exchange’s new Diamond Tech Innovation Center, an incubator for diamond-related technology start-ups.

The centre has been launched in partnership with Sarine and Hennig Diamond Group. The aim is to support start-ups that will go beyond gems and jewellery.

It will examine the use of diamonds in industrial platforms for applications such as semi-conductors, medical technologies, and space technology.

© copyright Neil Behrmann

This article was first published in The Business Times, Singapore.

Jack of Diamonds Neil’s thriller on global diamond mining and smuggling, will be published in coming weeks. It is the sequel to the thriller, Trader Jack, The Story of Jack Miner. Neil is also author of anti-war children’s novel Butterfly Battle- The Story of the Great Insect War. The updated 2015 Waterloo commemoration version of Butterfly Battle is on Kindle and e-books. Book reviews are on and Amazon and more reviews are welcome. If the books are purchased direct on this site, a proportion of the proceeds will go to low cost charities.

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