Laser Drilling

A beautiful heart cut diamond showing numerous drill holes

Consumer Information

What is the story behind this treatment?: Laser drilling is the process by which high powered lasers are used to burn out inclusions in a diamond. These lasers burn the inclusion from inside out, making a hole that goes from deep inside a diamond to the surface...rather than the other way around.

Can I wear it everyday?: Generally yes. Most laser drill holes are small enough that they do not endanger the integrity of a diamond's crystal structure.

What does this treatment do to the stone?: The only problem with laser drilling is that it makes the condition of the stone much less visible. Since it is usually used to make either very black or white inclusions basically invisible, the original clarity grade of the diamond can be difficult to determine. As shown in the microphotograph at left (photo by YourGemologist) lasers will burn out certain internal features, while at the same time leaving others. As is the case with these straight line drill holes you see here.

Does this treatment save money?: Yes...well, usually. A laser drilled diamond should be priced according to its original clarity grade...not the apparent clarity grade after treatment. Unfortunately, many lizard jewelers rely on consumers lack of knowledge to pass off lasered stones to the unsuspecting. But if properly represented by a professional jeweler, these laser drilled diamonds will save you money and give you more flash for your cash But in the wrong hands, you might wind up with less than you bargained for.

What do I need to know before going shopping?: Above all else, stay with a reputable, independent, professional jeweler. Most of the laser drilled diamonds that I have seen misrepresented on an unsuspecting public came from those nasty discount jewelers, who try to tell you they are selling to you at way below the retail prices. Only thing is, you don't know that they are passing off laser drilled diamonds as untreated, which is how they can make you what appears to be such a great deal. So stay with the professional independent jeweler.

And...just like on the page about fracture filling....if you are shopping for diamonds and the price seems too low for the diamond offered...beware. Laser drilled diamonds have been sold to all too many unwary consumers by lizard jewelers who take advantage of consumers. Be sure and get it in writing that your diamond has no treatments if it is sold to you as such. This will protect you if you find you have been sold a laser drilled diamond without proper disclosure. Word to the wise! YourGemologist

Gemological Information

Special Identifying Properties and Tests: The only problem an experienced gemologist should have with these stones is when the laser drill hole has been fracture filled. Then they can be a problem. And I would refer all gemologists to the recent GIA articles in Gems and Gemology on laser drilling in a "fan" type formation that masks the usual tell-tale drill hole by a lot of fuzzy looking drill holes. There is always much to learn about diamond treatments. And in this category the GIA is ahead of just about everyone else. Be careful out there!

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