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Enhancing Jewelers’ Brands Through Grading

Sarine Focuses on Expanding Its Retail Presence

Nov 6, 2017 9:08 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... There’s a perception about Sarine Technologies that its new CEO, David Block, is determined to change.

“People used to refer to us as a technology firm that supplies machines used in diamond manufacturing,” he explained in an interview with Rapaport Magazine. “But we have evolved, and today we provide solutions that span systems and services used across the diamond pipeline, from mine to retail.”

Explaining Sarine’s identity is a task Block (pictured) has faced a lot since his promotion to CEO at the beginning of the year. The company, best known for its rough-mapping and laser-cutting machines, is often viewed as a bellwether for the diamond-manufacturing sector — including by this publication.

It was the first question Rapaport Magazine posed on hearing about Sarine’s recent entry into diamond grading. Having left its mark on manufacturing and changed the way manufacturers operate, Block explains, “it’s time we do the same downstream with wholesalers and retailers.”

Added-value gemology

Consequently, Sarine is focused on demonstrating the added value it brings to retailers as it moves into an already overcrowded grading space. For too long, Block stresses, grading reports have contributed to the commoditization of diamonds.

“We’re providing a platform for retailers to tell the story of a diamond and its progress through the pipeline,” he explains. “We support the retailer’s brand by providing accurate third-party information.”

By targeting the retail sector with the roll-out of its Sarine Profile 4Cs grading reports, Block believes, the company can provide a solution for jewelers to create a complete buying experience for their customers — starting with the customer’s search for goods online, and continuing in the store and in the after-sales interaction.

Submitting stones

When partnering with retailers, the company first tries to understand their branding needs. Once the partnership is formed, it works with the retailer’s suppliers to grade the stones.

That requires suppliers to submit the diamonds for a Sarine Profile 4Cs grading report at Sarine’s service centers in India, Hong Kong, the US or Israel, where there will soon be lab grading capabilities.

For a standard Sarine Profile report — which provides data on the diamond’s light performance and quality, as well as 3D imaging, but not the 4Cs — the supplier can use its in-house Sarine systems to upload data to the cloud, from which Sarine issues a report.

For now, the company is not aggressively seeking grading clients in the manufacturing sector, although Block stresses Sarine is open for business with everyone. He expects manufacturers will come on board once they see how Sarine is working with retailers. Nor is the company trying to promote its own brand among consumers, since he believes that will occur organically as retailers educate their customers using Sarine’s platform.

Rather, the program is about enhancing the jewelers’ brand, Block explains. And to do so, Sarine has to have full confidence in the accuracy of the information it provides through its grading systems.

‘Repeatability and accuracy’

To that end, the company has put its own reputation on the line, introducing machines that it claims provide accurate, automated grading of all 4Cs — carat weight, cut, color and clarity. While grading of the first two has been automated for some time, Sarine unveiled its color and clarity machines in November of last year, and in late August announced those machines were enabling its foray into diamond grading.

The company is initially having humans verify the reports, but Block is confident that won’t be necessary moving forward. He believes the technology has demonstrated sufficient “repeatability and accuracy” that the devices can reliably work independently.

Having conducted tests on approximately 20,000 diamonds for clarity and 10,000 for color, the machines showed greater accuracy and consistency than manual grading by gemologists, Sarine reported in a July 30 announcement. That bolsters the confidence retailers can have in using Sarine’s systems to tell both their diamonds’ stories and their own, Block adds. It’s a different approach he believes will resonate with jewelers as the company works to exert its influence beyond the manufacturing sector.

“We’ve always sought to provide something that the market was not necessarily asking for but needs, and enable the market to evolve with the new consumer reality,” Block explained. “Retailers must understand that their biggest competition isn’t the jeweler next door, but other products and experiences.”

A retailer “needs to do something different,” he continued. “Our goal is to bring value to the diamond system so the industry can effectively compete with other luxury segments.”

This article was first published in the October issue of Rapaport Magazine.
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Tags: Avi Krawitz, David Block, grading, Sarine, Sarine Profile, Sarine Technologies
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