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Laser Inscriptions-are They Worth It?


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I've read some posted threads on diamond laser inscription in the archive, but no one's ever brought up the topic of their permanence or their demand. I wanted to bring this topic up again to hear from diamond dealers and appraisers what they think of this topic.


From what I've learned, the depth of the inscription is not deep enough to affect clarity. Given its very shallow depth, I'd think if a diamond gets stolen it can be taken to be repolished and have the inscription removed. That being said, the shape of the stone may be affected. But to Joe-schmoe thief, he can still sell that rock for a nice price if not pawned to get rid of it. That seems a little scary to me. Also, after many cleanings and ultrasonic baths, the inscriptions can turn transparent. That is, the carbon that turned dark has fallen out to leave only the grooves behind.


What does GIA/AGS do to compensate for this? Gem printing? I'd think by mapping the inclusions that'd be a better way to ID a stone. However, what do you do with an IF stone? Is there such a thing as facet measuring/mapping?


What are your opinions to personalization on a stone? I've seen things like putting your anniversary date or "I Love You" or "Not a Gift"(haha) on a diamond ring. Anything could be inscribed. Do people really go for that, or do customers prefer to keep their diamond as a pristine commodity that can be resold if needed? I had my name inscribed on my diamond ring, only because I know I'm keeping it. I hear customers are apprehensive to this idea, even if it doesn't require removal of the stone or even when it's done while you wait.


Lastly,the GIA and AGS are not the only ones to have diamond inscription lasers. How else can a local jeweler brand his own line of diamonds with their logo? A company who has access to that type of technology could inscribe diamonds and cert numbers, and most likely a large city will have an entity that inscribe diamonds. This was how I had my diamond inscribed.



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Inscribing diamonds is easy and permanent. Yes, it can be removed by simply polishing the girdle but it’s not something that can wear off during wear by a consumer, even over a lifetime or more.


There are lots of the lasers out there and you can get anything you want written on the girdle, including a jewelers logo or personalized messages. There are some limitations based on how much text you can put but it’s not really very restrictive. The lasers are a tad expensive and so most jewelers need to job out this sort of work but most have someone they work with who can do it. It ranges from a few dozen dollars to perhaps a hundred depending on the store used. No, this isn’t a particularly popular service although I don’t think it has to do with resale, it’s just that a personal message that requires a microscope to read is of limited appeal.


Yes, thieves can erase the inscription easily enough although this too takes some specialized skills and equipment that most crooks don’t have and, if a stone sold to a new owner has pre-existing personalized messages they can easily be removed (and replaced with your own message if you like).


They aren’t really very much of a theft recovery system. Gemprint is kaput and has sold the brand name to an outfit that only uses it internally. Neither the scanning nor the matching are available outside of NYC so it’s effectively useless. Plotting diagrams, photomicrographs, reflector images, Sarin scans and the like are all very useful in matching stones to previous records and, if carefully done, all will hold up in court under the right circumstances.



Edited by denverappraiser
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They closed in 2006 and shut down every Gemprint center in the world (I was one). The historical database is, well, history. GCAL bought the remains along with the patent, the brand name and the customer list and are using it as an internal tracking system and as part of their ‘source veritas’ package.





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Laser inscriptions are useful especially if you have a high clarity stone of VVS+ where the ID marker inclusions are extremely difficult to map and find with a 10X loupe.


The GIA Dossier reports (those without the plotted diagram in the lower left-hand corner of the report) automatically have the laser inscription done to the girdle by GIA which includes their Trademark Logo and the GIA report #.


If the diamond you're contemplating on purchasing does not have a laser inscription, definitely ask if it can be done. Any ID you have on the diamond, including the reports mentioned by Neil can only help you.


Make sure these ID markers are clearly noted and described on your Appraisal report.

Edited by barry
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Well this is why I'm asking: I had a Photoscribe laser, the smaller one. In the midwest, where I first thought would be a new market, I found that people aren't as progressive as in large cities. Quite narrow minded. Our clients' customers did not see the value or the appeal of laser marking their diamond. Least not enough to make regular monthly payments on the $75K machine. It was a nice laser though; easy to use. However, the focus knob kept getting loose(after the warranty period) and tightening it would strip the thread.


From experience(rather horrifying one, a lesson to make sure the diamond is seated securely in the machine. The stone shifted during inscription!) when I've had to send a diamond to have the inscription removed, it took about 0.01ct of weight off. Usually that's minimal, yes, unless you have something like a 1.995ct diamond that's now 1.994ct. Wouldn't that affect the price of the stone dramatically?


I also think that theoretically the removal of an inscription may change the shape of the stone, DiamondsByLauren. BTW, I recognized your name off ebay before I found this forum and I drool at your inventory on your site. Small world! Say if a perfectly symmetric round stone were to be repolished on one area where the inscription is, basically tangent to the circle, it's denting the perfect circle. But you're mostly correct, for most stones that's unlikely.


People out here didn't think much of the ID aspect of inscriptions. Hardly anyone cared whether their diamond had a cert # inscribed or not. Most were concerned with the resale aspect on a personalization because they thought they'd be stuck with the diamond forever (pun taken). Not good considering the market in this area having a lot of buy-backs and trade-ups. If you mention that an inscription can later be removed, they ask "Well then what's the point of the cert # then for ID if that can be removed?" Moot point.


Feydakin, ditto. I didn't know know about Gemprint, then again I was out of the industry for a few years.


I'm thinking about getting the Sarin machine in the future for gem scanning. Perhaps their inscription system too, though I'm now a skeptic. I'd rather have GIA or AGTA certify it, inscribe it, and note the inscription on the certificate.


I'm a big fan of inscriptions too, don't get me wrong. But consider us here in this thread some of many that appreciate their convenience and protection! The rest who don't, just keep going to walmart for their jewelry.... :rolleyes:

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