By Michelle Graff
070814 Melee-article2Kiran Gems, one of the world’s largest diamond manufacturers, has received an Automated Melee Screening Device from De Beers. Dinesh Lakhani, Kiran’s director of global sales, is pictured here with the device at the company’s headquarters iNew York--De Beers has manufactured a total of 100 automated melee screening devices and begun distributing them to sightholders around the globe, the diamond miner and marketer confirmed Monday.

Created to distinguish lab-grown melee from natural, the Automated Melee Screening Device, or AMS, screens up to 500 carats of colorless or near-colorless melee at a time, automatically feeding the stones, table-down, into a testing station. It takes diamonds as small as one point and up to 0.20 carats.

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Once the stones are screened, they automatically are dispensed into one of five bins, indicating whether they pass, need further testing or are not diamonds at all.

De Beers confirmed Monday that Mumbai-based Kiran Gems, which issued a press release about its new AMS device, is one of the first companies to get a machine. When asked for the names of additional sightholders that have received the device, De Beers said more details would be released later this week.

In its statement, Kiran called the AMS machine “hassle-free,” noting that because it is automated, it allows the company to screen melee in bulk while attending to other business.

“It is one more step towards bolstering customer confidence,” said Dinesh Lakhani, Kiran’s director of global sales. “This would now allow having even higher control on distribution flow of goods and keep the integrity of diamonds. Kiran Gems is the forerunner in technology adoption and would remain so, as it goes (a) long way in adding value to the relationships with customers.”

De Beers Technologies UK developed the AMS devices, and they are being sold to sightholders for $55,000, with a three-year support and maintenance charge of $10,000 a year.

In addition, De Beers said it plans to install an AMS device, or devices, in the International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research lab in Antwerp, which is part of the De Beers Group of Companies, beginning around September. This would make the device available to the trade more broadly.

A number of laboratories have been stepping up their melee testing efforts due to growing concerns in the trade about smaller lab-grown diamonds entering the natural pipeline undetected. 

In January, the Gemological Institute of America unveiled the DiamondCheck, a toaster-oven-sized device that screens diamonds between one point and 10 carats in size.

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The GIA’s device takes just one stone at a time, but is being leased to eight bourses worldwide at no cost, with the understanding that they will share data on the diamonds they detect with the GIA. The DiamondCheck also is available for purchase to interested members of the trade, including bourses that want more than one machine, for $23,900.


Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that De Beers is now selling, not leasing, the Automated Melee Screening device, to sightholders.

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