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RFID Helps Gem Dealers Track the Diamonds They Buy, Cut and Sell
Two jewelry wholesaler/retailers are using a passive HF system enabling them to read hundreds of tags attached to stacked envelopes in seconds.
Apr 25, 2007—Diamond manufacturers are using Magellan's phase jitter modulation (PJM) RFID technology to track their stones by simultaneously capturing the reads of hundreds of RFID tags. Manhattan jewelry wholesaler and retailer Favorite Diamond is employing PJM to track the location of every diamond that enters the store, and as it is processed, displayed or sold. The system, which the company installed two years ago, has allowed it to reduce shrinkage, as well as cut inventory by nearly 50 percent.
Eurostar Diamond, in Antwerp, Belgium, began using the same technology in November to automate the tracking of its diamonds as they pass from its manufacturing site in China to its Antwerp wholesale facility, then on to retail stores or Eurostar sales agents in New York or Shanghai.
Typically, when gem dealers buy, cut, polish and sell diamonds, the stones are stored individually in envelopes stacked vertically in boxes, often a hundred or more per box. Diamond manufacturers and wholesalers track each stone, recording details about its grade, the number of carats and its type, such as a blue diamond. This is often accomplished by manually entering data about each stone into the database, or by using bar codes that must be scanned individually with a clear line of sight.
Until Favorite Diamond installed the PJM RFID system now in operation, says Eliezer Gruen, IT director at systems integrator Klein Brothers, the company used bar coding as its prominent tracking technology. Klein Brothers provided the PJM system and integration to Favorite Diamond's Microsoft Access back-end system. As diamonds arrived from sellers in Israel or the Netherlands, Favorite Diamond staff members would place each stone in its own envelope, attach a bar-coded label to the envelope, input details about the diamond and scan the bar code. That bar code could then be scanned again at the time of sale, though there was no way to track the stone as it moved around the store to be cut, displayed or placed into a safe or vault.
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