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David Block, CEO - Sarine Technologies Ltd. explains on the cutting edge Research that has taken the company to a status of Leadership in the Diamond Industry. He also talks tough on the “Intellectual Property Infringers” and the stern action that Sarine Technologies has initiated. Excerpts:

The Diamond Industry is positive on the 2023 outlook even though times are tough currently. According to you, what are those important factors that will drive the Industry to a positive growth and sustainability of the sector?

I think that without a doubt one of the main factors that has been in the spotlight for a number of years is sustainability and traceability. We have observed a growing awareness and interest along all parts of the diamond pipeline with regards to sustainability and I believe 2023 should be a pivotal year in this regard. More and more companies from mines to manufacturers and all the way to the retailer are adapting their businesses to include ESG as an integral part of how they do business. I believe a long-term sustainability strategy for each of the different players in our industry is crucial for our industry’s long term health and positive growth. At Sarine we try and play our part both internally by setting our own sustainability goals (for the 3rd consecutive year) as well as developing technologies that can contribute to the entire industry. One such example is our traceability solution enabling the tracking of diamonds from rough to polish in order to be able to connect each diamond to its sustainability ‘story’ (from the mine, though the manufacturing and all the way to the consumer).

As a Leader in providing Technology services backed by a strong Research & Development department, How do you think “Breakthrough Technology” will help shape the future of the Diamond Manufacturing sector?

At Sarine, we envision the future of the diamond manufacturing sector as being highly automated, cost-effective, efficient, and powered by advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence. Over the past two decades we have seen the manufacturing segment totally transform from a manual, ‘cottage industry’ to an advanced and highly automated one. There is still a lot of room for technology and innovation in diamond manufacturing and I expect to see it advance in the next few years in automated polishing and processing as well as a much more extensive use of manufacturing data to create a highly efficient supply chain by connecting demand to the supply. Lastly I expect to see technology proliferating into smaller and cheaper diamonds as the technology becomes more cost effective and relevant for smaller sizes.

I believe the next segment of the industry that is already seeing such a transformation is on the retail side of the pipeline and we are committed in driving this vision forward through cutting-edge research and development, delivering solutions that enhance the productivity, quality, and profitability of our clients across the entire diamond pipeline.

Meteorite™ Plus System is a latest addition in the cutting edge tech products launched by SARINE till date. Can you elaborate on the benefits of Meteorite™ to the Diamond trade members?

The Meteorite™ Plus system represents a revolutionary solution to the challenge of achieving cost-effective high-speed and high-accuracy scanning for small rough diamonds (as small as 0.05 carat rough which results in 0.01 – 0.02 carat polish diamonds). This innovative technology enables optimized planning of small rough diamonds, ensuring the maximization of value. By incorporating the latest advancements in technology, the Meteorite™ Plus system drastically reduces the cost of ownership and increases production without compromising on accuracy. The Meteorite™ Plus enables clients manufacturing smaller goods to benefit from technology and the value it adds that was relevant until recently only for larger size diamonds. This and our other technologies for smaller diamonds also lay down the foundation for enabling traceability of these sizes which is not yet possible to track on scale through verifiable data.

Can you throw some light on the Automated AI-based Diamond Grading?

So I'll try to put it very simply. Automated diamond grading is a process that utilizes technology to evaluate the quality of diamonds rather than relying on manual assessments by human graders. A suite of technologies that we have developed enables grading of different aspects of the diamond, including color, clarity, fluorescence, cut, symmetry and more. The technology is based on artificial intelligence and machine learning and basically leans through ‘experience’. Our grading algorithms are trained by providing them with vast amounts of data and ‘teaching’ them to identify the key attributes of a diamond. One of the main advantages of using automated AI grading over human graders is accuracy and consistency. A technology-based system can consistently evaluate diamonds in the same way, whereas human graders' performance may be affected by different factors such as fatigue, mood, experience etc. thereby creating variance in grading. Automated AI-based diamond grading technology essentially mimics the grading methodology used by human graders, but in a much more accurate and consistent way.

Sarine’s E Grading services are much appreciated by the Industry members. How according to you does Sarine’s E Grading service have an edge compared to other Grading companies that offer similar services?

We already discussed how our technology based eGrading provides for dramatically more constant grading results but actually this is only one of the advantages of such technology (and I would say not even the most significant!) The revolution of eGrading is the ability to move from the current methodology of having to send goods to a grading lab for (manual) grading to the ability to perform grading in-house without c o m p r o m i s i n g o n q u a l i t y o r objectiveness. This will reduce costs significantly (due to savings in shipping, insurance, cost of money, grading personal etc) as well as dramatically shortening the cycle time. The scenario where a manufacturer completes manufacturing today and by tomorrow has a grading report is just around the corner. In addition, we are already developing additional grading capabilities beyond the 4C’s which are required by the industry as part of the information required to trade polish diamonds. Parameters such as color tinge, milkiness, inclusion types etc are not an integral part of today’s grading reports due to the significant effort and costs to include them. Lastly, we are also able to provide verifiable traceability (as opposed to declarations) to complete the entire story of the diamond journey from mine to consumer.

SARINE Group has been fighting against and penalizing ‘Intellectual Property Infringers’. Can you explain to the trade members through this column the action that SARINE takes towards Infringers and what has been your experience specific to countries that SARINE operates with respect to the companies who commit the crime and how has SARINE dealt with this?

For over three decades, Sarine has been at the forefront of innovation in the diamond industry in India, providing groundbreaking technologies that have driven manufacturing sophistication, increased yields, and improved quality while reducing risk. This has contributed to India's dominance in world diamond production, a position that has been hard-earned through years of investment, research and development. However, it is unfortunate that the reputation of the entire Indian diamond industry is being tarnished by the actions of unscrupulous parties.

Sarine has recently further expanded its enforcement efforts against IP piracy in India by taking legal actions against suspected infringers. Recently, we have filed lawsuits against a wide range of Indian entities and have been encouraged by the court's swift action in understanding the gravity of the situation and thereby granting rulings in our favor to protect Sarine's legal rights.

We are hopeful that these measures will be implemented to not only protect Sarine's substantial investments in IP, but also to safeguard the integrity of India's diamond industry, which relies heavily on public trust. As the manufacturing of rough diamonds using illegal and infringing technologies also puts the buyer or retailer at risk (no one wants to buy diamonds that have been manufactured with infringing technology), I would recommend to all buyers and retailers to ensure (through their KYC) that their suppliers are not using any infringing technologies. As traceability is becoming a crucial part of our industry it is important to know not only where your diamonds come from but also how it was manufactured.