What is Project ASSURE?
Project ASSURE is an industrywide collaborative project designed to establish ongoing industry capabilities to evaluate, continuously and objectively, the performance of Diamond Verification Instruments (“DVI”).
Project ASSURE has already developed the DVI Standard (“DVIS”), which is a set of standards, including test protocols and test methods, to be applied when testing the performance and functionalities of DVI.
In collaboration with manufacturers of DVI, Project ASSURE will oversee the performance testing of the DVI available in the market through a third party independent professional testing laboratory – UL. Project ASSURE will then make the results of the testing available to the wider diamond and jewellery trade through a directory published here.
The objective of Project ASSURE is to support the diamond and jewellery trade to make informed decisions and procure the right equipment for their operations.
What is a Diamond Verification Instrument?
A Diamond Verification Instrument (DVI) is a device used to separate and/or identify diamonds from synthetic diamonds, and/or diamond simulants. In the trade, DVI are also known as synthetic diamond screening or detection devices.
Who is behind Project ASSURE?
Project ASSURE is the result of a collaboration between the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) and Signet Jewelers – with the support of many leading industry organisations and gemmological laboratories.
Project ASSURE has partnered with UL to develop the DVI Standard and to conduct the performance tests. UL is a world-leading safety science company that has developed over 1,600 standards used by industry groups, government, legislative bodies and third-party service providers.
How was the DVI Standard developed?
The Project ASSURE team have contacted manufacturers of DVI across the world, asking them to be involved in the Project. We received response from 90% of the manufacturers. These manufacturers submitted user manuals and links to online videos and tutorials relating to their DVI. Through a review of the information submitted, UL were able to develop a draft standard supported by three test protocols (“Test Protocol”). Each Test Protocol reflects a category of instruments that operate in a similar way.
The draft DVI Standard and Test Protocols were subjected to an initial testing phase, known as “Beta Testing”, using three different instruments to ensure practical applicability.
Throughout the development of the DVI Standard and Test Protocols, Project ASSURE sought expertise from a Technical Committee to ensure scientific rigour. The Technical Committee consists of leading scientists and academics from major gemmological laboratories across the world, including the GIA, GII, SSEF and IIDGR.
Where can I find the DVI Standard?
The DVI Standard will be made available to the manufacturers of DVI that are Project ASSURE Partners. If you are interested in becoming a Project ASSURE Partner, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How are the DVI tested?
Each DVI will be tested by UL in accordance with the DVI Standard and the relevant Test Protocol corresponding to the category of instrument. The relevant Test Protocol to be applied shall be determined by the claimed capabilities of the DVI by the manufacturer. There are three different operational categories that each have a corresponding Test Protocol.
- Screens for diamond from synthetic diamond – This category of DVI is intended for discrimination of diamonds from synthetic diamonds. These DVI cannot distinguish diamonds from diamond simulants and therefore require stones to be pre-screened with another device to preclude diamond simulants
- Screens for diamonds from synthetic diamonds and diamond simulants – This category of DVI is intended for discrimination of diamonds from potential synthetic diamonds and diamond simulants. These DVI do not distinguish potential synthetic diamonds from diamond simulants
- Screens for diamonds, synthetic diamonds, and diamond simulants – This category of DVI is intended to discriminate diamonds, synthetic diamonds, and diamond simulants. These DVI can distinguish synthetic diamonds from diamond simulants
The operating category is determined through the below two questions:
- Can the instrument accommodate diamond simulants? Yes/No
- Can the instrument differentiate synthetic diamonds from diamond simulants? Yes/No
Each Test Protocol comprises a test procedure and composition of a test sample. The test sample consists of a minimum of 1,200 stones. The test is then performed on the DVI using the test sample and the performance metrics are calculated based on the outcome of the test.
Project ASSURE Partners will receive a detailed description of the test method and test sample applicable to their instrument.
The DVI Standard and Test Protocols are developed to be scientifically rigorous and produce reliable and repeatable results. The testing takes place in a controlled laboratory environment.
How do I find out the test results?
If you are a Project ASSURE Partner you will receive the detailed test report as soon as the tests are performed. If you are not a Project ASSURE Partner, you will find the summary level report here when they get published from 19 December 2018 onwards.
What is the composition of the test sample?
The composition of the test sample reflects the overall production and availability of stones globally. The composition of the sample also takes into account the limitations of each instruments. Each instrument is tested on a subset of the sample that is within its capabilities range.
The sample includes diamonds and synthetic diamonds, and when applicable, diamond simulants. The sample consists of round brilliant polished stones. Rough stones, fancy shaped stones and fancy coloured stones are not included in the sample for the first edition of the DVI Standard.
The diamonds originate from multiple mine sources and include both type I and type II diamonds. The synthetic diamonds derive from multiple manufacturing and treatment methods. The diamond simulants include a range of commercially available materials. All stones are of gem quality, but the clarity of stones is not taken into consideration.
The design of the sample composition is to ensure it can be easily replicated by laboratories and Project ASSURE Partners who wish to replicate the test sample for their internal use.
The DVIs that can be used for stones set into jewellery will be tested against a jewellery sample. The jewellery sample has been provided by Signet Jewelers. The sample contains a range of designs to reflect the jewellery available in the marketplace and to accommodate the capabilities and limitations of the DVIs.
What is the scope of the testing?
Project ASSURE will test the performance of the DVI in accordance with the DVI Standard. The Standard has three different Test Protocols, each for a specific category of instruments. Each Test Protocol states a test procedure and composition of a test sample. The test is the performed on the test sample and performance metrics are calculated based on the outcome of the test.
The performance metrics will be slightly different for each operational category of DVI given the different Test Protocol.
All Test Protocols have the same primary objective: to measure ability to verify diamonds from a mixed test sample. Two of the performance metrics for every operational category of DVI are therefore (i) “percentage of diamonds identified as diamonds”; and (ii) “percentage of synthetics diamonds incorrectly identified as diamonds”.
The performance metrics also include the speed of operation of the DVI and when applicable, the referral rate, i.e. the number of stones that are referred for further testing. These two measurements give a further indication of operational functionality.
Please note that Project ASSURE will not always test the full range of capabilities claimed by a manufacturer as the DVI may be capable of processing stones that are outside the range of the test sample.
When will the first phase of testing take place?
Project ASSURE will accept submission of DVI for first phase testing from manufacturers during the period from 15 August 2018 to 15 September 2018.
How do I participate in Project ASSURE?
If you wish to become a Project ASSURE Partner, please contact us at Diamond Producers Association at email@example.com. We shall provide you with an introduction to Project ASSURE and more information on the purpose of the project, as well as practical steps to follow.
What is a Project ASSURE Partner?
Project ASSURE Partners are manufacturers of DVI that support the diamond and jewellery trade by submitting their DVI for independent testing as part of the project, so demonstrating that their DVI are fit for the purpose of verifying diamonds.
By participating in Project ASSURE, Project ASSURE Partners are helping to protect the integrity of the diamond industry – and promote consumer confidence – by ensuring current and prospective customers have access to objective information about their DVI.
What are the benefits of participating?
There are many benefits to participating in Project ASSURE and submitting your DVI for test.
PRELIMINARY ENGAGEMENT WITH THE LABORATORY TEAM
You will be able to engage with the laboratory team prior to the testing to provide guidance and clarification on the operational aspects of your DVI. We will also ensure you have full clarity and insight into the testing process and selection of Test Protocol.
DETAILED TEST REPORT
Your DVI will be tested by UL, an independent third party professional laboratory, using a standard protocol and sample set, and you will receive a detailed test report which will help you better evaluate the capabilities of your own DVI, and benchmark its performance.
You will have a one-on-one meeting with UL to receive constructive feedback from their experience in using and testing your DVI.
You will receive the DVI Standard including all four of the Test Protocols and “how to guides” which will allow you to test your instrument in-house to further your research and development.
If you decide to submit your DVI for testing, the summary performance metrics for your DVI will be published in the heavily promoted ASSURE Directory. That way, the worldwide diamond and jewellery trade will be informed about your instrument and understand its capabilities, as verified objectively by a renowned laboratory. Project ASSURE Partners will be highlighted in the trade directory as participating partners.
You will be able to use the verified performance metrics in your marketing material of the tested instrument, giving it added credibility and confidence to potential buyers.
Project ASSURE Partners will also be issued with an ‘ASSURE’ certification mark which they will be authorised to use in association with their marketing material. The ‘ASSURE’ certification mark is proof that you are a participating partner and can be used in the marketing material for the tested instrument in conjunction with the ASSURE test results.
What happens if I don’t want to participate?
If you do not want to participate you will not get the benefit of the performance of your DVI being promoted in the Project ASSURE directory. We expect the trade to give commercial priority to instrument manufacturer who participates in Project ASSURE and ensure current and prospective customers have access to objective information about their DVI.
Even if you do not want to participate, we may still decide to test your DVI if we believe it is important for the completeness of the project. In this case, you will not have the chance of preliminary engagement with the team, you will not see the detailed report, and you will not be able to use the verification mark. If we decide to test and publish the results, it will be published in the non-participant list.
Must my instrument only be tested once, or will I be able to submit upgrades for testing?
The first report is important as it will give an overview of all key DVI available. We, therefore, encourage you to submit your instrument for this first phase of testing,
However, upgraded instruments may still be tested as necessary.
What is the cost of participation?
The only costs which Project ASSURE Partners will incur is payment for the test according to tariffs negotiated by DPA with UL and the cost of shipping your equipment to UL’s central test lab. The price per test per DVI is $4,900.
Costs related to the development of the standard, test protocols, acquisition of test samples, production and distribution of test- results, are borne by Project ASSURE.
Which DVI may be included in Project ASSURE?
All DVI which claim to verify diamonds from synthetic diamonds, and when applicable, diamond simulants, are eligible for testing, provided that they comply with the regulatory safety standards.
Project ASSURE recommends that DVI comply with the IEC 61010 safety standard as it is a global harmonised standard accepted by over 85 countries. Please find more information about IEC 61010 here.
If your DVI has been tested against a local safety standard that does not form part of IECEE, has been self-certified, or if your DVI has not undergone any safety testing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide details on how to proceed.
Where can I get questions answered?
If you are new to the Project ASSURE, please contact us at email@example.com.
If you are a journalist or a trade organisation and want to learn more about Project ASSURE, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ASSURE directory will be published here 19 December 2018.