HARDNESS 10, The Diamond Bible

More than 1500 pages full colour. The extra 1000 pages cover topics such as the discovery and polishing of new major stones such as the Oppenheimer blue. The new production areas, such as Canada obviously, but also some lesser known areas like Finland, Norway or Sweden, countries where may lie the promise of the future for the industry.

The new 3rd edition of Eddy Vleeschdrager's book...

the volume that some call the bible of the diamond grading industry has at last been thoroughly revised and updated in order to include the results of the latest developments of the aspects that are at the heart of today's diamond industry. The 1,500 pages cover topics such as the discovery and polishing of new major stones such as the Lesedi La Roma.

The new production areas, such as Canada obviously, but also some lesser known areas like Finland, Norway or Sweden, countries where may lie the promise of the future for the industry.
As a token of the seriousness of the book and of its statute of reference in the matter, it is interesting to notice that the Universalis encyclopaedia refers to it in its chapter dedicated to diamonds.

The Interview

While the copies are still travelling across the ocean, Eddy Vleeschdrager has agreed to answer a few questions and supply us with first hand insights.

ADL: You said there were now an additional 1,000 pages. Can you tell us why?

Eddy Vleeschdrager: Actually, it came bit by bit. We started 20 years ago with 300 pages, and here we are now with over one thousand three hundred pages. This is due to the fact that the book covers extensively most matters if not all that refer to diamonds. It ranges from geology, where we cover the new technologies of prospection, the emergence of new producing countries, the disappearance of some countries due to mine depletions, to the latest technologies for bruting, sawing or cutting, or the most recent developments in laser technology and the use of computers in factories. Of course, the diamond grading standards are reviewed, and we have particularly highlighted those of the HRD, GIA, IGI, EGS and CIBJO. The change in the trade centers also occupies an important part in the book.

ADL: Who's the book destined for?

Eddy Vleeschdrager: It was in fact designed for everybody who is involved in the diamond manufacturing and trade, which is why all different steps from the mine to the jewel are carefully analysed.

ADL: Could the end-user also find an interest in the book?

Eddy Vleeschdrager: Everyone could find something of interest in the book, but it is rather destined to people of the diamond pipeline, from the young diamantaire to the jeweller or the retailer. If you take geology for example, there is a whole chapter regarding geofractal simulation. These are theoretical studies designed to figure out where diamond deposits should theoretically be found. Such studies were carried out for Brazil and Canada as well as for all currently running deposits. It is based upon a thorough theoretical (as opposed to a physical) analysis of the magma, which from the supposed location of diamond deposit, ore is derived. The efficiency of this technique has been proven as its theoretical model has already been able to confirm, the presence of the mines that are currently in activity. Basically it opens the door to the implementation of geo-fractal simulation to the finding of new ore deposits, where we should theoretically find some. And that is where it is a breakthrough. So in a sense, this example confirms to what extent the book is at the edge of new technology.

ADL: What about synthetic diamonds and diamond manipulation?

Eddy Vleeschdrager: If you think in terms of Glets filling or diamond coating techniques, or the latest developments of HPHT colour enhancement treatments, you can be sure they are all reviewed. Actually all measures designed to reveal and detect them are introduced in detail, such as the diamond spotter (from Dr. Hanni, Switzerland) or the HRD D-screen, M-screen or the spectrophotometer observations and the fluorescence. If your field of interest is "purchases of rough, for example, from the source", you will find a whole chapter dedicated to avoiding being misled by synthetic diamonds, imitations or enhanced or coated diamonds. The book also provides the reader with a certain number of simple techniques that could come in very handy when it becomes crucial to be able to tell natural rough diamonds from manipulated ones. So it can save a lot of money.

ADL: What about diamond polishing?

Eddy Vleeschdrager: The use of laser technology for the sawing of the rough is covered in depth, as well as the implementation of the HRD Octopus automatic cutting machine, since it is considered today as the most advanced equipment available today. The X-ray computer tomography is also analy¬sed as it enables diamantaires to reveal inclusions that are located at the heart of opac diamonds. In a certain way it be¬comes possible today to overcome the risk of ill-made purchases. It opens indeed the possibility to buy stones that otherwise no one would dare to. I would say that anyone involved in the diamond business should read this and be fully aware of the complete array of techniques currently available.

ADL: We have read that you explain how to participate in international pro¬fessional fairs. Is this really useful?

Eddy Vleeschdrager: After more than 25 years experi¬ence in that particular field, I explain all the various steps starting more or less 6 months before the fair takes place and ending about 1 month after the event is over. Many questions and issues are cov¬ered, such as how to assess the material required, how to order safes, security, or when to start informing clients and clos¬ing appointments. Naturally, it follows all issues related to how to organise the fol¬low-up of clients on the weeks following the event. Obviously, issues like how to organise your booth to avoid thefts to the greatest extent cannot be overlooked.

ADL: Is there any way in the book to figure out what kind of goods should be offered to clients?

Eddy Vleeschdrager: No; that is up to everyone to adapt one's speciality to the market in ques¬tion. However, what I can surely do is provide people with an efficient way to organise a booth and show one's added-values in such a way that your booth stands out.

ADL: What about the major risks and security issues?

Eddy Vleeschdrager: I tell a few stories from what I have gathered after over forty years experience in the business. I give practical advice such as how important it is never to show off goods in a hotel...if you want to avoid being robbed of course. But the book also includes unusual stories that show how imaginative men can be when it comes to stealing goods. About 15 years ago, for in¬stance, there was this Israeli buyer who came into an office to buy goods and who literally just swallowed it all. Of course he was then arrested and x-rayed which showed the stones lying in his stomach. Or that of this Thai guy who had surgery done to implant a plastic tube running under his skin from his finger to his un¬derarm. A pump in his underarm was attached to the tube, which enabled him to aspirate melees and small brilliants, guided by his finger. Bit by bit people started noticing that carats were missing here and there in smaller parcels, which in the end led to his arrest.
Of course, most of the robbery attempts are not so spectacular, but their conse¬quences can turn out to be very dramatic for the unfortunate victims. If in most of the cases, the perpetrators end up caught, most of the time, it is without the goods, as they are long gone by then.
"There is a very useful multilingual dictionary and glossary where all the terms used in the diamond trade and in¬dustry are explained in French / English / Dutch and German.
Another section explains how to start a business, how to install your office or deal with clients. Many practical aspects are covered, such as how to deal with clients originating from the most re¬mote locations of the Earth. Koreans for example are always there even before a meeting is scheduled, whereas custom¬ers coming from the Middle East are not so stressed about meeting precision.
In any case, I want to stress that my great joy and pride is to be able to notice in most all cutting plants, a copy of my book in the worst possible conditions. This is the token of how much it has been used and used again. Since 1986, over 65,000 copies were sold, which is not so bad for a professional book" concluded Eddy Vleeschdrager.

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