De Beers has dropped the price of the device designed to automatically batch screen diamond melee by nearly half.
The second-generation Automated Melee Screener, or AMS, is priced at $45,000, compared with $85,000 ($55,000 plus a three-year, $10,000-a-year support and maintenance charge) for the first-generation version introduced to the market in 2014.
De Beers said the AMS2 also is about 10 times faster than its predecessor and has a substantially lower referral rate, meaning that fewer diamonds need further testing. A company spokeswoman said the referral rate on the AMS2 is less than 0.5 percent, compared with 2 percent on the first version.
Here’s how the AMS and AMS2 devices work.
A user can place up to 500 carats of melee in the machine at once. After the diamonds are inserted, the machine automatically feeds the stones, table down, into a testing station.
Once the stones are tested, they are dispensed into one of five bins:
— Pass: The stone is not lab-grown or a simulant (meaning CZ, etc.);
— Refer: More testing is needed;
— Refer Type II: The stone has a low concentration of nitrogen and further testing is required as it might be lab-grown;
— Non-diamond: The stone is a simulant or lab-grown; and
— Purge: This bin is for when the user needs to empty out the machine because, for example, they put in the wrong packet of diamonds.
The AMS device can test colorless or near-colorless diamonds as small as one point and as large as 0.20 carats and was developed to separate man-made melee from natural stones in response to growing industry concerns about undisclosed lab-grown melee in the supply pipeline.