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Hidden secret: Is your diamond natural or lab-grown?

Integrity is critical when it comes to the changing diamond landscape, which is why jewellers need a reliable synthetic diamond detector.

No-one wants to discover that the ‘natural’ diamond they have purchased is in fact a lab-created stone – yet this is an all too common reality.

No-one wants to discover that the ‘natural’ diamond they have purchased is in fact a lab-created stone – yet this is an all too common reality.

Most of the time, it is an innocent mistake – the diamond supply chain was compromised at some point, and there weren’t enough checks and measures in place.

There has never been a more important time than now to ensure your business doesn’t fall victim to this unnecessary occurrence. 

Authenticity and transparency are key in today’s diamond market, as consumers and the rest of the supply chain have begun to demand more verification of their purchases.

Now, retailers and suppliers alike need to ensure the diamond they are selling is correctly classified – that it is what it claims to be.

To eliminate confusion in the market, the solution is simple: invest in a high-quality diamond detector. However, it’s important to note: not all diamond detectors are made equal.

“It goes without saying that each member of our industry should have a detector for lab grown diamonds,” says Dror Yehuda, CEO Yehuda Diamond Company, which manufactures the Sherlock Holmes detector.

“The future of our industry is unclear, and the last thing that we need is a loss of confidence by the public.

“We all must make it a priority to ensure our business is as clear and honest as possible.”

Good Morning America (GMA): Molly Carlson and Scott Long, had taken Carlson’s engagement ring to a local jeweller for an appraisal. Carlson told GMA, “[I] asked, ‘What can you tell me about my ring?’ and they said, ‘Well, I can tell you it’s not an actual diamond.’”

'I can tell you it's not a real diamond!'

The importance of lab-grown diamond detectors was recently publicised on the US TV program Good Morning America (GMA), which has since been viewed 114,000 times on Facebook. Watch video to the right: 

A young couple, Molly Carlson and Scott Long, had taken Carlson’s engagement ring to a local jeweller for an appraisal.

Carlson told GMA, “[I] asked, ‘What can you tell me about my ring?’ and they said, ‘Well, I can tell you it’s not an actual diamond.’”

When he purchased her ring, Molly’s fiancé was not informed the diamond was lab-created.

“Scott and Molly wanted a natural diamond, and that’s what they thought they were buying,” said journalist Kyra Phillips. “And this was the first time [a person] was going to have a real diamond, in the whole family, so this was a big deal. They were pretty disappointed.”

True love deserves transparency. A diamond detector is an insurance policy for any jewellery business.

This situation illustrates the importance of honesty and integrity when it comes to diamond jewellery, particularly engagement rings. A diamond detector is an insurance policy for any jewellery business.

Lab-grown detectors give jewellers confidence that they are stocking real natural diamonds – a confidence they can pass on to their customers.

However, before a jeweller can have confidence in their products, they must have confidence in their detector.

There are currently many different detecting devices on the market, many claiming to be the most accurate, convenient, and reliable for jewellers.

True love deserves transparency

Luxury purchasing is driven by emotion; diamond jewellery is a symbol of love, eternity, devotion – or a treat for oneself, a purchase that conveys status and wealth. In either scenario, to the customer, it is truly‘worth’ the expense.

At the same time, consumers are increasingly drawn to authenticity, with market research into the Millennial and Gen Z demographics indicating these shoppers respond strongly to products that are ‘real’ and ‘genuine’, and businesses that are transparent and honest.

For those reasons, lab-grown diamond detectors are essential component of the diamond industry, from wholesale to retail.


In order to provide jewellers with clarity on the capabilities of each detector, the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) set up Project ASSURE.

ASSURE is a rigorous testing program developed and administered by a third-party certification company, UL, which is based in the US and has offices in 46 countries.

Yehuda's Sherlock Holmes profile in ASSURE »

“The goal was that an unbiased third party would come up with a protocol that will be used equally for all the detectors and become the gold standard of the industry,” Yehuda explains.

Each detector submitted to Project ASSURE has been assessed using the same criteria:

1.  Detection of synthetic melee diamonds (under 0.02 carat)
2.  Detection of larger loose synthetic diamonds
3.  Detection of synthetic diamonds set in jewellery
4.  Detection of diamond simulants, such as cubic zirconia, if it claims to do so

Any manufacturer is welcome to submit a detector for Project ASSURE testing at any time.

The results of the test are published in the Project ASSURE Directory.

Which detector is best?

The Yehuda Sherlock Holmes 2.0 was submitted for testing with Project ASSURE in 2018.

Dror Yehuda
Dror Yehuda
“No other diamond detector in [our] price range that can check multiple stones – $US6,495 – was able to detect 100 per cent of lab-grown diamonds.”
Dror Yehuda, Yehuda Diamonds

It detected 100 per cent of all lab-grown diamonds in all sizes, both loose and set in jewellery – a result Yehuda calls “exceptional”.

“Jewellers using the Sherlock Holmes can be confident that any lab-created diamonds will be identified,” he says.

The detector had a false positive rate – that is, it determined that natural diamonds were synthetic/lab-created – in 2.2 per cent of small stone tests and 2.5 per cent in all other tests.

“The conclusion for jewellers is that if Sherlock Holmes determines a diamond to be natural, it is definitely natural. If it determines a diamond to be synthetic, there is a small chance it is natural,” Yehuda explains.

“No other diamond detector in the Sherlock Holmes price range that can detect multiple stones – $US6,495 – was able to detect 100 per cent of lab-grown diamonds, and all had higher false positive rates.”

For the same reason, the ability to detect multiple stones at the same time is considered essential by jewellers.The ability to detect set synthetic diamonds is a crucial component for jewellers, as it saves time and prevents unnecessary damage to an existing piece.

• Read Jeweller's detailed coverage »
 Order a Sherlock Holmes »

The only other detector with the same capabilities that equalled Sherlock Holmes’ performance was the De Beers SynthDetect, which retails at $US18,000–25,000.

Its outstanding Project ASSURE results, combined with its portable and simple design and affordable price, have made Sherlock Holmes 2.0 the first choice of international grading laboratories, diamond manufacturers, jewellery companies, and retailers.

“Graff and Tiffany & Co. use our detector, alongside hundreds of diamond cutters, wholesalers, and jewellery stores,” Yehuda tells Jeweller.

“Among our more famous customers is Gemological Science International (GSI). They use our detector to screen every piece of jewellery for Signet Jewelers [the US’ largest jewellery company, which includes the e-commerce retailer James Allen as well as chains Zales, Jared, and Kay Jewelers].”

Sherlock Holmes 2.0 is also utilised by HRD Antwerp, the International Gemological Institute (IGI), and Gem Certification & Assurance Lab (G-CAL).

How does Sherlock Holmes work?

The Sherlock Holmes synthetic diamond detector emits a specific sequence of light wavelengths and measures the diamonds’ response. The exact details of the process are secret, and were developed by Zvi Yehuda, founder of Yehuda Diamond Company, in 2016.

"More than 40 years ago my father] was considering the impact of synthetic diamonds, and many times I heard him say that they would one day disrupt the natural diamond market."

“My father is a type of person who is always working on something, and when he decides he wants to solve a problem, he will do it. He was 80 years old when he started working on this project!” Dror Yehuda tells Jeweller.

“More than 40 years ago he was considering the impact of synthetic diamonds, and many times I heard him say that they would one day disrupt the natural diamond market. He always knew and kept educating himself on the subject.”

The initial Yehuda Detector prototype could only identify synthetic diamonds manufactured using the high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) method. It debuted at the JCK Las Vegas trade show in June 2017.

“We asked our manufacturing team to perform magic to get the machines ready in time, and two days before the Vegas show, we had three detectors! We just made it,” laughs Dror Yehuda.

“We received 200 orders and it took three more months to manufacture and deliver them all.”

In the meantime, Zvi Yehuda had developed a detector that could also identify chemical-vapour deposition (CVD) synthetic diamonds – a machine that would become known as Sherlock Holmes.

See Yehuda's Sherlock Holmes detector in action, as demonstrated by Grant Mobley, a gemmologist for the Diamond Producers Association.

“When I came back from Las Vegas, my father demonstrated the new design to me and asked me to check it.

I tested the same sample of natural diamonds regularly over three months, and it kept indicating they were synthetic.

» Order Sherlock Holmes

Each time, I told my father the machine didn’t work – yet he would insist it was working.

In September, I finally tested other diamond samples – thousands of them. I realised the machine wasn’t showing me a false positive after all – my father was right. I’d just wasted three months!”

By the following January, the new machine was ready and customers who had purchased the HPHT detector were invited to send them back for modification to become the Sherlock Holmes 1.0.

A year later, in March 2019, the Sherlock Holmes 2.0 was released, with new features including faster results and detection of loose diamond simulants.

The Sherlock Holmes 3.0 model is currently in development, with improvements to the user interface and software updates to interpret the results of the testing. It will also have a smaller false positive rate than the 2.0 model.

Dror Yehuda also reveals a larger detector is also scheduled to become available in 2020.

“This one is long time due, and we have many customers asking for it. It will be able to check large jewellery pieces, 50-75 rings at a time and thousands of carats of loose diamonds.

It will have the same detection method and software of SH 3.0 and we believe that it will be very successful,” he says.

Sherlock Holmes DEVELOPMENT Timeline

About Yehuda Diamond Company

Yehuda Diamond Company is a third-generation family business with offices in the US, Israel, and Belgium. It was founded by Zvi Yehuda, a scientist, inventor, and pioneer in diamond industry technology.

Some of his breakthroughs include recycling diamond powder, laser drilling, clarity enhancement, and diamond colour prediction.

“My mother, father, sister and brother are all involved in our companies,” Dror Yehuda tells Jeweller.

“Family business has huge advantages alongside some difficulties, but in our case, it is our strength and the reason for our success. When needed, we are all in the same boat and in different times each member shows their strength for the benefit of everyone else.”

He adds, “We are very proud to have a few employees that we consider family as well. They have worked for us for 20, 30 and 40 years, and we are lucky to have these great people with us.”

Today, Yehuda Diamond Company produces natural clarity enhanced and synthetic diamonds, as well as the Sherlock Holmes synthetic diamond detector.

CONTACT Yehuda Diamond Company:
590 5th Ave 8th Floor
New York
New York, USA, 10036
Phone: 1 212 221 5985
Fax: 1 212 221 5986

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