Does An Inscription Make A Diamond More Secure?

Fri, 08/02/2013 - 05:50

In the last several years, laser inscriptions on a diamond's girdle have become a popular security enhancement. The assumption is that the presence of an inscription makes a set or GIA loose diamond more difficult to steal or switch. But how effective are they?

Consumer awareness of the potential theft of set or loose diamonds during repair or resetting has grown rapidly over the last several years, triggered by a series of hidden camera reports on popular news programs. The typical scenario involves a hapless customer leaving a valuable diamond with a jeweler for repair or resetting. When the customer returns and picks up the diamond, they take it to an appraiser, only to find that the diamond has been switched for one of lower quality. Recourse with the jeweler is limited since there is no proof the diamond was not switched long ago, or perhaps was never the correct diamond to begin with.

Laser inscriptions are seen as an important tool in reducing the likelihood of the above scenario, since the inscription can be confirmed before and after the diamond is left with the jeweler. While this is true, there are other ways, some more reliable, for accomplishing the same goal.

First, keep in mind that inscriptions are not full proof. They are easily altered or removed. Second, customers should understand there is no tracking system for diamonds; it is not like the VIN number on a car. While the presence of an inscription might make a recovered diamond easier to identify, it does not offer much assistance in the actual recovery process.

Instead of relying on laser inscriptions to secure a diamond, owners of certified diamonds should do the following:

- Keep your original certification with you at all times. Never leave it with a third party. Instead, give them a copy, if necessary. The certificate is your documentation of three especially critical elements: the carat weight, dimensions, and position and nature of inclusions.

- When considered together, a diamond's weight, along with the length and width in millimeters make for a near unique combination. When you add to it the knowledge of the type and location of the most prominent inclusions, you have a set of identifiers that is both unique and unalterable.

- When dropping off a diamond, always get a receipt that notes the weight, shape, dimensions, inscription (if present), and a simple map of at least one key identifying inclusion. Then, when picking up the diamond, confirm that it matches each of the noted criteria.

Following the steps above will not only make it impossible for a third party to switch your diamond, it will completely eliminate any desire to try. While diamond switching is very rare, when it does happen, the victim tends to fit a certain profile; unaware of the specific details regarding their diamond, unconcerned about proper documentation, and a careless attitude toward the entire process. By being diligent about documentation, you send a clear signal that you are not an ideal candidate. Instead off allowing you to catch a crime in process, the primary benefit of the documentation is that it eliminates any temptation to commit the crime at all.