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The history of laser drilled diamonds
In late 19th, early 20th centuries, A large increase in the supply of diamonds originated from Africa, creating a desire to organize, categorize and rank these stones by their worth. Since eye clean diamonds have always been favored on the public, these diamonds have become more valuable than ones with eye visible inclusions, making eye clean diamond desired economically just as much as it's desired aesthetically.
These dark inclusions in the stone are commonly created by small deposits of minerals such as graphite, sulfide and even Iron. They are usually referred to as "carbon", although that word is used loosely to describe black spots in the stone. These spots aren't actually black, it is in fact an optical illusion caused by a lower refractive index of the inclusion, which is why it may appear semi-transparent when viewed from a different angle (peters, 2010).
All of these minerals can be dissolved in certain acids that do not affect the diamond (as they are well known for their endurance and strength). This acid drips inside the open channels in the stone and dissolves these minerals, but what happens when there are no channels or the inclusions are deep within the stone?
As a proof that technological advancements are adopted early by the gem industry, laser drilled diamonds was already tested in enhancing diamonds as early as the 1960's, merely a few years after the laser was publicly revealed.
The first public report of laser drilled diamonds showed up at 1962, when general electric researchers using a laser to drill 0.02-inch-diameter holes into an industrial diamond. The gemological applications quickly showed up about a year later, when Louis Perlman (of New York's "Perlman brothers") tested this process in order to enhance a diamond with the aid of Raytheon Co. - a well known US defense contractor and electronic weaponry developer (ward, 1972).
Above is a picture of a green laser, emitting a beam of amplified light at a wavelenght of 532 nm, which may look intimidating and is enough to damage eyesight but not nearly enough for gemological uses.
The benefits of laser drilling in clarity enhancement
It's important to stress how delicate and accurate this process is, which in its 1st appearance in diamonds and gem enhancement process shocked seasoned gemologists at GIA the 1st time it was publicly tested, which they claimed they "were struck with the precision of aiming, which allowed the tiny hole to just pierce the crystal, but were reminded that laser beams are used for extremely delicate surgery on the retina of the human eye" (Crowningshield, 1970).
And it goes without saying that this successful process has matured since this trial run.
Laser drilled clarity enhancement is a permanent procedure that targets these black inclusions inside the stone and involves drilling microscopic channels into the stone itself using a highly advanced precise laser tool, concentrating a beam of light using a 1064 nm solid-state laser using a pulsed, focused beam. This laser is usually used in treating skin and liver cancerous tumors, and cut steel, creates surgical microscopic channels made to reach the imperfection which is then cleaned and removed.
These microscopic channels are invisible to the naked eye, as they appear as white spots on its side, and do not alter the stone's natural integrity.
In recent years, a new laser drilling technology (used in Glogowski diamonds' enhancement treatment) uses microscopic incisions with more advanced and minute laser drilling lasers to reach the blemish, eliminating the white spots entirely and leaving the process looking more organic and natural.
These treatments are tailored to the location of the inclusion within the diamond, as more advanced techniques are taking advantage of existing fractures to reach the inclusions (known sometimes as "KM laser drilling", or "Kiduach Meyuhad" - special drilling in Hebrew, as they were invented in Israel) that do not reach the surface, meaning the drilling process is done completely within the stone, fairly invisible even under a jeweler's loupe.
Even after years and years of experience in laser drilling techniques, new variations of this process baffle and allude even the most seasoned professionals who are sure, at first glance, that these "marks" are caused naturally, creating a perfectly pure and whole look to it ("but they are practically invisible when the viewing direction is more parallel to the feather... are more difficult to recognize than the irregular channels noted earlier in these laser induced feathers, which makes this treatment more challenging to detect", Cracco and Kaban, 2002).
Over the past 20 years, laser drilling has been one of the tools we use to create our incredible clarity enhanced diamonds.
Using cutting edge technology and the latest advancement in laser drilling, our clarity enhancement procedure carries a life-time guarantee to its durability.
Interested in learning more about the process that creates clarity enhanced diamonds? What about our directory of loose clarity enhanced diamonds?
Cracco, V., & Kaban, H. (2002). Lab notes: internal laser drilling update. gems & gemology, 38(2), 164-165.
Crowningshield, G. R. (1970). Developments and highlights at the gem trade laboratory in new york: Laser beams in gemology. Gems & Gemology, 13(7), 224-226.
Peters, N. (2010). Diamond inclusions. (1 ed., pp. 01-02). Deerfield beach, FL: American Institute of Diamond Cutting, Inc.
Ward, A. (1972). Pique diamonds, treated by lasers, on the increase in world markets. Jeweler's circular-keystone, 143(3), 98-100.