Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Opals Set To Shine With New Grading Technology

Date:
October 13, 2009
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Australian miners have unveiled the world's first automated device to grade opals using image analysis.

The Gemmological Digital Analyser (GDA) is the world's first automated device to grade opals using image analysis.
Credit: Chris Taylor

CSIRO and a consortium of Australian Opal miners (Opal Producers Australia Limited) have unveiled the world's first automated device to grade opals using image analysis, at the 2009 National Council of Jewellery Valuers forum in Sydney.

Related Articles


CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences image analyst Leanne Bischof helped develop the Gemmological Digital Analyser (GDA).

Ms Bischof said that opals have a unique range of colour characteristics that makes them by far the most difficult gemstone to appraise.

"Qualities such as 'flash', the way an opal reflects light and colour as it is rotated, can vary with human eyesight and lighting conditions," Ms Bischof said.

"A person's judgment of an opal's colours, the brightness of those colours and the area each of them covers is a really difficult task, even for a skilled opal assessor. You really need objective image analysis and automation to assist with that."

Incorporating the expert knowledge of over 60 opal industry professionals, CSIRO designed a GDA prototype with Australian company Applied Robotics.

CSIRO then developed the complex mathematical algorithms to drive the image analysis system behind the GDA.

A small camera inside the GDA takes 871 images of the stone as it rotates on a stage which moves 360 degrees horizontally and tilts 90 degrees vertically.

High powered computers linked to the GDA analyse the images and quantify the opal's gemmological characteristics, providing a classification grade based on colour, clarity, carat, cut and character and a summary graph showing proportions of the opal's colours.

A database of information on the GDA graded opals will allow participating jewellers and industry organisations to accurately assign a dollar value to a particular grade of stone depending on the daily market price.

Director of Opal Producers Australia Limited and Lightning Ridge Opal miner Peter Sutton said the value of the Australian opal industry is estimated to be worth around $50 million a year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

"We suspect this figure is grossly underestimated because valuations for a single stone can sometimes vary by thousands of dollars," Mr Sutton said.

The demand and trade for other Australian commodities like wheat, coal and gold have benefited from the introduction of an independent grading system, ensuring fair prices for producers and the supply of a consistent quality product to customers.

"We wanted to create an objective grading system that would improve the demand for and value of the Australian Opal industry, giving miners a fair price and consumer's confidence to trade with grade quality assurance," Mr Sutton said.

"This will be an independently-graded Australian opal product, which we will brand as Opallia."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "Opals Set To Shine With New Grading Technology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090831131356.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2009, October 13). Opals Set To Shine With New Grading Technology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090831131356.htm
CSIRO Australia. "Opals Set To Shine With New Grading Technology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090831131356.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins