You take several fortifying breaths, nervously swiping your palms as you venture into Ion Orchard's daunting Jewellery Street on the quest to select a singular diamond, armed with a meager understanding of gemology from Google searches. Alternatively, you can barrel right in, surround yourself with a multitude of diamond choices and make your decision based on the recommendation of the store curator. Either way we see it, this 'choose your adventure' story isn't quite panning out to be the satisfied ending you expected.
And if diamond experts Angelina Lau, deputy general manager of Love & Co. and Michael Goren, managing director of Sarine Technologies (Asia Pacific) have anything to say about it, you'd be cringing at this archaic method of diamond shopping most consumers are still employing today. Indeed, the old-school standards of diamond selection — cut, clarity, colour and carat — has fallen on the wayside as modern technology supersedes this basic criterion to provide a vastly comprehensive understanding with digital diamond reports that require but a few clicks. Partnering up to deliver this revolutionary service, the dream team of luxury jeweller Love & Co. and Sarine Technologies, the cornerstone of the diamond industry, has come together to pioneer this innovative service to bridge the gap in the market so that customers can make informed decisions.
A visionary collaboration of integrity and profound meaning, the digital report gives consumers full autonomy and puts the buying power solely in their hands. As Goren is keen to share, "We want to make the experience of buying diamonds less frightening and more fun. More engaging, more interactive, and simultaneously provides more transparency, giving consumers the benefit of assessing the information in an environment they can control or they feel comfortable in so as to reach a decision without being pressured or confused."
So what's the science behind choosing the perfect diamond? We sit down with diamond gurus Lau and Goren to give you the 101 on how their proprietary digital diamond report will play to your advantage and have you going pro.
ELMINATE UNDUE STRESS
Angelina Lau: The diamond shopping experience is usually an apprehensive one, especially for first-time customers, for example those who are getting married, in particular the men. It's a significant purchase and they're not jewellery shoppers, so finding a diamond for proposing is actually a very nerve-wracking attempt. What we want to do is to convince our shoppers with information — it's like a form of research to understand diamonds more before making a purchase. At Love & Co., we want to make this experience easier and more memorable.
When you enter a store and you see a nice diamond, you don't really have a memory of it once you leave. You also don't remember how beautiful it is as the store lighting is different from the lighting at home. So with this new technology, we can objectively analyse how beautiful a diamond is. It's no longer about which sales staff has the better convincing power now that we are using Sarine's technology to have an objective assessment of the diamond's beauty. Before this, one can only rely on your naked eye or what a diamond certificate tells you but it doesn't reveal how beautiful the gem is. So this is what we are trying to achieve — particularly for today's era of consumers where everything has to be digital.
GET UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Michael Goren: Even with a big list of technical specifications and us telling you, "Look how good the diamond is," you'll say, "Yeah, but I still want to touch it and see it visually." Increasingly, savvy consumers don't want to experience it theoretically but in reality. So a technical description of a lab certificate can tell you all the specs but you would still ask, "Is this really a high-performing diamond?"
At the end of the day, we understand what shoppers really want is a diamond that sparkles brilliantly when the light comes in and in turn emits more light out. It has more fire in it and it's livelier. So we decided we would just measure it and show it in a visual way with the digital report, instead of giving you a lab report that's full of technical information but doesn't really tell you how the diamond performs.
AL: Information should always be accessible and you'll be given a link where you can go online to understand and appreciate the beauty of your chosen diamond. Every one of our diamonds has a link and in it stores information such as the carat rate, colour and clarity. More importantly, it includes a real-time magnified video of how the diamond actually looks like. A diamond's beauty is in how much light it gives out and this is known as light performance. And we break it down into four different parameters that's objectively analysed based on Sarine's expertise as they manufacture the high-tech equipment used by virtually all the diamond cutters and suppliers in the world.
With Sarine's vast access to the diamond market, they know exactly how well a single diamond will perform in accordance to the whole world's polished diamond market. So with these statistics in place, as well as the objective method of measuring light performance based on four parameters, consumers will know the exact grade of their diamonds.
UNDERSTANDING DIAMOND SPEAK
AL: We measure a diamond based on four parameters: Brilliance, sparkle, fire and symmetry. Brilliance basically tells you about the white light of your diamond. With sparkle, it means that when you turn the solitaire, you see flashes of white light. And there's fire — when you turn the ring, sometimes under certain lighting, you'll see rainbow colours. The more colours from the light spectrum, the better the diamond's performance. And finally, light symmetry: A diamond is round and you want the entirety to sparkle instead of just one side. You don't want something that's not balanced, so all of these also depend on how well a diamond is cut.
At Love & Co., all of our diamonds are graded. After we do an analysis based on the four parameters, Sarine grades the gems according to a number of levels ranging from 'low' to 'ultimate'. Their research has shown that Love & Co. has the highest quality diamonds — all of our gems are carefully selected and cut so that they achieve the ultimate grade.
MG: With diamonds, it can get confusing even with research because at the end of the day you can't visualise what it means. So we're trying to take these technical aspects and simplify them by visually showing it and projecting it in a way that's accessible to everyday consumers. Our equipment is designed with an optimised camera and zoom, and it's uniquely structured so we can actually show you if there is any inclusion in the diamonds.
AL: The report shows you exactly how your diamond looks like when it's blown up many times. If there are any obvious flaws, you can see it right away. We also showcase the hearts and arrows — it's like a birthmark that testifies to how well a diamond is cut. And as first-time consumer, you usually can't count the eight hearts or eight arrows because of the store's lighting and it can get very confusing. But now we showcase this information to the consumer in the report so they can view it instantly. We want to make sure that customers know what they're purchasing and we want to make understanding diamonds easier and more effortless.
MG: And Love & Co. diamonds have one unique feature known as the 'lovemark', which you'll be able see once it's magnified.
AL: It's a form of authentication and proof of the brand's commitment to quality. You can also see the serial number so you'll know the diamond is yours. For instance, if you pop by any jewellery showrooms for a cleaning service, you'll be able to identify your diamond when you collect it. And as all Love & Co. diamonds have been analysed and scanned, clients can walk in and immediately have a consultation. They will be presented with the actual diamond and they will also be shown the digital report. And when you purchase the diamond, a full link will be sent to you. For customers getting their first-hand experience with the brand, we will also send them a message as well as an electronic mailer with a summary of what we've covered after they leave.
SEEING AND SHARING
MG: Our digital diamond report also lets you test your selected solitaire in different lighting conditions. When we analyse the diamond, we scientifically subject it to different conditions and apply different lighting patterns — such as daytime and night — and capture that information so that we can tell you how the diamond will perform in a wide range of conditions. When you make that purchase, you will know exactly what you are buying whether it's a top performing or medium performing gem.
In comparison to other retailers, you might not know how it truly performs as the diamond can look great in the store but once the lighting conditions change, it can look different and you may find it doesn't have enough fire or brightness — so this is like a test drive. We wish to eliminate the concern and worry, as people don't want to spend their money on something they cannot fully access. I think the term is 'kiasu' (laughs). Love & Co. carries only high-performance diamonds and you can be rest assured it will perform well in different conditions.
AL: Exactly. Incidentally, our younger customers today don't want too much fuss. They want everything in one link, one email and they want to admire it anytime, anywhere and most importantly, share it with their friends and family. We are in a paperless world already, and we keep our report very lean and concise. Love & Co. has always strived to differentiate our diamond selection experience and the brand is targeted at the modern savvy consumers and busy professionals. So we want to materialise information by way of the digital report, and since our customers are choosing such a beautiful LVC Lovemark diamond, why not show them the brilliance of their gem?
Love & Co. is located at Ion Orchard Jewellery Street, #B2-64.