Laser Drilled Diamonds 101
Are laser drilled diamonds always a bad thing? Not necessarily. Our info and tips will give you a basic background, however, you should do more research before taking this route.
Laser drilling is one of the most popular treatments used to improve a diamond's clarity by removing a dark inclusion (black carbon spot). It is also used to drill holes for very fine mountings. A laser burns a miniscule path to the inclusion and then acid is used to either bleach the it or entirely remove a tiny one. No filler material is placed in the hole. While laser drilling is considered a permanent treatment, unethical diamond dealers do not reveal this treatment, which lowers a diamond's value.
Some diamond dealers feel that laser drilling is no different than cutting or shaping a stone and should be considered a process, but as a diamond's value is affected, this is a diamond treatment, and not a natural process (as as cutting is) to improve a stone. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Diamonds that are laser drilled must be disclosed—this was made mandatory by the FTC in April, 2001.
The biggest problem surrounding this treatment is that there are new drilling techniques over the past few years that make it difficult, if not impossible, for retailers to easily recognize such stones as they don't have the microscopic equipment needed to detect them. This is why you must deal with a retailer who only purchases diamonds from trustworthy brokers. If you are being offered an unusual deal, the chances are that you may be purchasing a laser drilled diamond (and won't be informed about it).
As laser drilling is a permanent and stable treatment, the GIA will grade laser drilled diamonds and note this in their report. The clarity grade usually remains the same after the treatment. Since it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify such stones, it is more important than ever to purchase an important diamond with a quality certificate and have it appraised by a properly certified diamond appraiser who is a gemologist.
When Is A Laser Drilled Diamond A Good Thing?
As laser drilling does improve a diamond's clarity, you may want to consider using this treatment to improve a stone you want to reset, perhaps a piece you inherited. Get a referral by a trusted jeweler and make sure you receive a life-time, 100% ironclad guarantee on the work performed. Properly laser drilled diamonds are stable and you should be easily able to receive a written assurance of the treatment's permanence. The resale value does drop, so don't have this type of treatment performed if you plan to resell the stone. If you do think that you might resell it in the future, you must have the diamond recertified.
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