Laser Inscribed Diamonds
By Rubina Posh March 12,2018
What are laser inscribed Diamonds?
Laser Inscribed diamonds are diamonds which have been microscopically engraved with romantic messages, names, dates, symbols, logos, numbers and/or letters. These inscriptions are generally placed on the outer edge (girdle) of the diamond, specifically ones graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). They consist of three letters “GIA” followed by ten numbers such as GIA 0123456789. The laser inscription can also be on the flat part (table) of the diamond, as is the case with the DeBeers diamonds. These diamonds are engraved with the Forevermark logo resembling a four-pointed star and a seven-digit code, all positioned in the centre of the flat part (table).
The laser inscriptions are invisible to the unaided eye and generally require some type of magnification, either a 10x loupe or microscope.
Why are diamonds laser inscribed?
Generally, diamonds are laser inscribed to reference diamond grading reports. The inscription provides instant verification, added security and peace of mind when purchasing diamonds, and there are better chances of locating the diamond if its lost or stolen.
The diamonds are either graded first then laser inscribed, or they are laser inscribed first and then graded. In both instances the inscription references the report number.
How are they laser inscribed?
A diamond is placed on a small device (jig) which holds the diamond firmly in place. A fine laser beam is then used to carve a microscopic inscription on the girdle. This information is viewed through a screen to see where the inscription will be. Power, Focus and Distance are very important when laser inscribing these diamonds. If either one of these components is out of range, the machine will not work properly.
The inscription is generally done on the widest section of the girdle and away from any inclusions. These inscriptions don’t change the colour or clarity of the diamond, nor do they damage it.
The inscriptions are permanent but can be removed if any recutting or repolishing of the diamond is done.
There is no limit to what can be engraved, however, these laser inscriptions are generally up to 15 characters long. The only restriction is the size of the diamond.
Hot and Cold Lasers
Laser inscriptions are either performed using a Hot Laser or a Cold Laser. Hot Lasers operate with a higher wavelength, while Cold Lasers operate with a lower wavelength. Both can damage the diamond if not used properly. Hot Lasers require more precision than Cold Lasers, however, Cold Lasers can damage the diamond if they are focused on one spot for a long period of time.
GIA uses a Hot Laser to do their laser inscriptions, whereas the majority of other laboratories use Cold Lasers.
A Hot Laser inscription is easier to see as it has a clear black outline and is etched slightly deeper than a Cold Laser inscription.
A Cold Laser inscription is very difficult to see, even with a loupe. It is almost invisible if the girdle is not polished or is frosty. A blackening agent is used as an outline for the inscription. This can be easily removed when the diamond is placed in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Where to get your diamond laser inscribed?
Bellow is a list of some of the diamond grading laboratories from around the world offering laser inscription services:
How much does it cost to have a diamond laser inscribed?
Generally, the price for having your diamond laser inscribed ranges between $40 and $200, however, this depends on the diamond grading laboratory, the technology they use and how busy they are.
Are diamonds the only gemstone that are laser inscribed?
Coloured diamonds as well as other gemstones such as rubies and sapphires can be laser inscribed.