Buddha Bhatta’s “Ratna Pariksha” an ancient treatise on the science of testing gemstones, as mentioned in Kautilya’s “Arthashastra” published between 323 and 299 BC, was used in ancient times to control the trade on pearls, diamonds and colored gemstones. Hence, the first grading system for diamonds, pearls and colored gemstones was developed by ancient Indians more than 2,300 years ago, and was based on three factors Clarity, Color and Carat Weight.
Since 1950s diamond professionals used a grading system, developed by the GIA, based on four important factors to describe and classify diamonds – Clarity, Color, Cut and Carat Weight. Known as the 4Cs of a diamond, used together they describe the quality of a finished diamond, and hence its actual value. Rarity of one or more of the 4Cs can enhance the value of a diamond. Most natural diamonds have tints of yellow or brown, and hence colorless diamonds are extremely scarce, and more valuable than diamonds with a slight yellow color. Rarity and value are inversely related, and rarer a diamond the more valuable it is. Likewise some fancy colored diamonds which are also extremely rare are highly priced than diamonds of the normal color range.
The same relationship between rarity and value applies for clarity, cut and carat weight. A diamond with the highest clarity – Flawless – without any inclusions or blemishes, is extremely rare and hence command premium prices. At the other end of the clarity scale are diamonds with inclusions that can be easily seen with the naked eye, and between the two extremes are diamonds with inclusions visiible only under 10X magnification. Bulk of the diamonds in the retail market fall within the middle claritiy range. The effect of inclusions and blemishes on clarity grade are based on their size, number, position, nature and color.
The dazzle and brilliance of a diamond depends on its facets, with the diamond interacting with the oncoming light and every angle and facet affecting the amount of light returning to the eye. An ideally cut diamond wiith correct proportions maximises the amount of light that undergoes total internal reflection at the inner surface of the pavilion and returns back through the crown, without any leakage at the pavilion. Diamonds with excellent proportions and polish, show three optical effects, white light reflections called “Brightness,” flashes of color called “Fire,” and areas of light and dark when the diamond is moved, called “Scintillation.” Another characteristic of diamonds called “Pattern” is the relative size, arrangement, and contrast of bright and dark areas caused by a diamond’s internal and external reflections.
The term “Cut” also refers to the shape of a diamond. Shapes other than the standard round brilliant-cut are referred to as “Fancy” Cuts. Some of the common fancy cuts are Cushion, Princess, Square-Emerald, Rectangular-Emerald, Oval, Marquise, Pear and Heart cuts.
In ancient India, “Carob” seeds were used for weighing jewels and jewelry as well as medicinal herbs, as it was believed all “Carob” seeds had a uniform weight. The word “Carob” was transformed to “Qirat” by Arab traders, and subsequently changed to “Carat” by western traders. The International Carat or Metric Carat is equal to 200mg or one-fifth of a gram or 0.2 gram. A Carat is divided into 100 points. Hence one point is equal to 2mg or 0.002 gram.
After the ancient Indian diamond grading system introduced more than 2,300 years ago and the modern diamond grading system introduced by GIA in the 1950s, a world renowned Indian diamond company, Shree Ramkrishna Exports (SRK), the largest crafter of natural diamonds in the world, has set a new world record by becoming the first diamond company in the world, whose in-house grading system, SRK GRADING SYSTEM (SGS) received accreditation by the Manchester-based Certification Agency “Alcumus ISOQAR” awarding the world’s most distinguished certificate – ISO 24016, whiich specifies the terminology, classification and pedagogy used in the SGS for grading and description of single, unmounted, natural polished diamonds over 0.25 carats. Thus SRK becomes the world’s only diamond company to have achieved this ISO Certifiication and SGS the first of all the grading systems, known in the gems and jewellery industry across the world to meet the highest globally-recognized grading standard for natural polished diamonds.
According to SRK, the Company was officially recognised for this achievement, through a felicitation event conducted virtually on 11th March, 2021, in the presence of top officials of “Alcumus ISOQAR” which included Mr. Steve Stubley, Technical Strategy Director; Mr. Roger Wood, International and Business Support Manager at Alcumus ISOQAR Ltd; Mr. Suhas Risbood, Managing Director at ISOQAR India Pvt. Ltd. and fellow team members of SRK.
The SRK Grading System was subjected to a two-stage evaluation process by the ISOQAR technical assessors that included pre-audit, a management system documentation review and overall grading process assessments including Carat (Mass), Dimensions, Colour, Fluorescence, Clarity, Cut, Shape, Proportions, Finish, Grading Reports and Comments, before the award of the ISO 24016 Certification.
SRK believes that pursuing the ISO 24016 Certification is a strategic investment demonstrating the continued commitment of the Company in applying pure transparency and quality standards to continuously improve their business processes and standards
SRK, considers itself as being the most compliant company, already holding the following ISO Certifications :-
PAS 7000 for Supply Chain Risk Management System, attained since 2018
ISO 9001 for Quality Management System, attained since 2016
ISO 14001 for Environmental Management System, attained since 2015
ISO 45001 for Occupational Health and Safety Management System, attained since 2015
ISO 50001 for Energy Management System, attained since 2013
ISO 22000 for Food Safety Management System, attained since 2015
Commenting on SRK’s achiievement in obtaining ISO Certification for SGS in the first attempt, a fellow team member of SRK said. “With the ISO certification, we want to ensure that we ultimately improve upon what we do; to benefit our customers. After months of work, SGS was developed successfully as per the standards, and appreciatively we succeeded in the first attempt. With our team’s continued dedication and customers’ valued feedback, we intend to keep upgrading and improving for the best.”
The Company is of the firm comviction that the SRK Grading System was the main reason that enabled SRK to achieve 90% sales through on line channels in the year 2020, despite the pandemic that seriously affected diamond sales everywhere. The Company had used the SGS for grading diamonds during the last 15 years and claims that around 1.8 million+ diamonds had been graded according to this comprehensive grading system.
Each diamond in this system passes through the hands of six graders for complete validation of all the parameters, before being assigned a grade, and is authenticated with special comments over parameters like Lustre, Fluorescence, Symmetry, Black inclusions etc. Apart from the regular 4Cs. Thus SGS is a very comprehensive grading system, credited for its high accuracy and is the productive and lucrative outcome of strict quality control, robust inventory management and best practices upheld at SRK. The Company decided to take that dedication a step further and initiated the certification process of SGS for global customers.
“The year 2021 for Team SRK has started with our record of being the 1st in the industry and in the world to achieve ISO Certification for its grading system known as SGS. The successful certification of SGS is testament to the positive engagement SRK Team establishes at all levels, an essential element, in our constant pursuit to deliver innovative and value-added products and services for the benefit of our customers. These compliance standards not only reflect our commitment to pure quality and service, but it also gives us a sense of inclusiveness with our stakeholders, motivating us to attain newer heights in the coming months,” added a fellow compliance team member from SRK.
SGS is a metric derived over a transparent 17-step process to authenticate the true value of a diamond. The system is so refined that objectivity truly wins over subjectivity. In a sense, the SGS metric is an authoritative and conclusive measure of a diamond, going beyond the current industry standards of 4C evaluation.