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Advanced Mapping Technology Allows for Online Auction of 'Special Size' Rough Diamonds

April 2, 2020

Due to international travel restrictions, diamond mining giant Alrosa is temporarily changing the way it's selling "special size" rough diamonds larger than 10.8 carats. Instead of inviting top diamond buyers to view and bid on individual stones at its offices in Russia, the company is encouraging them to stay home.

The two-week "digital tender" that ends this Friday was made possible by Alrosa's commitment to an advanced technology that provides customers with a three-dimensional digital scan of each rough diamond along with detailed data about its external shape, internal inclusions, anticipated color and fluorescence. What’s more, the mapping system can evaluate the optimal size and shape of the resulting polished diamond.

Armed with this information, buyers can make informed decisions about a stone's value — from anywhere in the world.

"The health of our employees and customers is essential for us," said Evgeny Agureev, deputy CEO of Alrosa. "This is why we decided to cancel upcoming auctions and shorten those already in progress. The company is in contact with customers from different countries, considering different supporting measures. One of the opportunities is a digital tender."

The Alrosa exec clarified that the new digital method for showing and selling large diamonds is intended as a temporary solution and will not replace the traditional trading model.

When Alrosa tested Digital Tenders in October 2019, Sarine’s Galaxy inclusion mapping and DiaExpert planning was touted as a great way to take the guesswork out of the risky, high-stakes business of rough-diamond buying. It allowed the procurement experts to preview stones and share the detailed scan with their full planning team, including the cutters at their polishing factories. When buyers would later visit the Alrosa offices, they already knew what stones suited their needs.

Agureev said at the time that Digital Tenders gave his company the ability to show products to a large variety of clients within a short timeframe.

It also now permits Alrosa to carry on an international "special size" diamond auction with no buyers on site.

Credits: Image of Sarine’s DiaExpert device via Instagram/AlrosaDiamonds. 3D-Model document courtesy of Alrosa.

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