Last updated on June 14, 2021
Diamond laser inscription is a growing trend that provides added security to the stone’s owner and serves as an easy way to identify a diamond. It can help you not only when deciding whether to buy the stone but also protects you from fraud in some situations.
What Is a Diamond Laser Inscription?
Diamond laser inscription is a unique combination of letters and numbers engraved on a diamond’s girdle, a narrow portion separating the top (crown) and bottom (pavilion) parts of the stone.
The history of diamond laser inscription goes back to the 1970s when scientists discovered that laser beams could burn out diamond inclusions and improve unwanted diamonds. In 1983, they developed and patented a laser engraving system that could help mark a diamond with a “footprint” and verify it when required.
Laser inscription is done by a fine, precise laser beam to write a grading report number that helps to identify a particular stone. It is also used to write customized personal messages or even graphics on a diamond weighing 0.18 carats and more. There is a cost associated with diamond inscriptions.
The inscription does not impact a diamond’s quality or light performance. It is invisible to the naked eye and can only be seen with a jeweller’s loupe (a trained eye) or special diamond inspection tools using 20x magnification.
The size of the characters in an inscription is determined by the height of the girdle, meaning the bigger the diamond, the easier it to read the inscription.
Types of Diamond Laser Inscriptions
There are two main types of diamond laser inscriptions – cold and hot.
The hot laser inscription is generally used on low-end stones during the manufacturing process for branding purposes. This method can alter the colour and clarity grade of a diamond and even damage the stone.
The cold laser inscription does not affect the colour and clarity grade of a diamond or light performance. It is considered permanent and can only be removed by a skilled diamond cutter.
Unlike the hot laser inscription, the cold laser uses the latest technology that provides excellent control during the inscription process without damaging the stone. It will never chip or fracture a diamond because the cold process produces no thermal effect on the inscribed stone.
This method is used by all the major international grading laboratories such as GIA, HRD, AGS and IGI.
Why Are Diamond Laser Inscriptions Important?
Diamond laser inscription, provided by a grading laboratory, ensures that the stone you buy matches the issued grading report or certificate. It allows an instant verification that the stone is the one described in the report as the number or wording is permanently registered in the lab’s archive database. In other words, an inscription gives added security and peace of mind when making a diamond purchase.
It is also helpful to jewellers and diamond merchants for quality control. This is especially true if they handle many diamonds of similar or the same sizes and quality characteristics.
The inscription allows you to recognize your diamond among other similar-looking stones. For example, if someone attempts to replace your diamond with another stone, you can always check its inscription to make sure you have the right diamond.
Remember to tell your jeweller about the inscription so the person doing the repairs will be careful not to damage it by accident. When you get the stone back, check the inscription to make sure you have the same stone.
Do All Diamonds Have Laser Inscriptions?
To see if your diamond is laser inscribed, you should check its grading report. The inscription details will appear on the certificate.
Not all diamonds available on the market are laser inscribed, as some manufacturers prefer not to pay for inscription services. However, you can always have your stone inscribed.
Grading laboratories working on international standards will not inscribe any certificate number onto a diamond. The stone should first pass a verification test to ensure it matches the certificate. Only then the grading report number will be inscribed onto its girdle.
Since diamonds can be inscribed after a lab report is issued, they may have a laser inscription, but the information does not appear on the report. In such a case, the stone should be independently verified against the report. The additional verification will also assure the stone has not been damaged by a hot laser inscription.