Lalit Aggarwal on the process of diamond grading

Gone are the days when the four Cs — cut, carat, clarity and colour — made all our decisions about this precious gem. To know the real value of a diamond is a complicated process and that is what Dr. Lalit Aggarwal sought to do. The founder of ImaGem Limited, Aggarwal became fascinated with the idea of diamond grading while watching a television show back in 1994 and took it upon himself to study more about it.

“They were explaining the specifics of diamond grading, and it all seemed very difficult and precarious. I was fascinated enough to study about the grading system and somehow come up with something that was more accurate and scientific,” he explains. He realised that the old system of diamond grading rested upon “opinions” from gemologists. The aspects — brilliance, scintillation and fire — weren’t static and could not account for the constant value of a diamond. Aggarwal founded ImaGem as a technical laboratory where diamond grading could be done in an exact manner involving criteria such as brilliance, sparkle and intensity.

Further on, he went on to patent this software in 16 countries. For something which could possibly be very useful commercially, how was it that it got out to the general public?

“It was the biggest challenge we faced. We started with publishing in journals and other scientific papers. What helped most was giving demonstrations at trade shows so we could directly explain consumers of our efforts. After that, a few clients came to us and we began grading for them,” he says.

Today, a number of stores and manufacturers across the world use ImaGem technologies to grade their diamond or sell the diamonds thus graded by them.

In India, though, the only places where ImaGem is prevalent are Mumbai and Surat, but Aggarwal hopes that with enough awareness people will come forward and collaborate with him. After all when we buy an expensive diamond we should know why it is expensive.

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