While the industry trend is to get away from diagramming a diamond’s inclusion pattern, known as plotting, NGL will not only continue to include a center diamond diagram with our fine jewelry appraisals, but do so through an improved system. It took a while to find a method with the same precision as our hand-drawn diagrams, but now we offer just that – hand drawings, but digitally rendered and saved for future reference. Rather than use computerized conventions as does GIA, ours have the quality and “feel” of the diamond’s actual inclusion pattern.
The diamond plot is a valuable tool to identify your diamond and is more conclusive than a surface inscription. Unfortunately, many of the big labs don’t like to plot because it takes time and expertise their people may not have. It also requires the jeweler to explain “those little red marks” that represent the diamond’s inclusions to their customer. Heaven forbid we jeopardize a sale over the education of our clientele! Additionally, not all jewelry appraisers provide plots and some that do charge extra. One respected colleague charges $50 for a diamond plot. At NGL, it’s included at no extra charge.
With the industry’s current attempt to enhance the desirability of crystallized carbon through name branding via laser-inscription it’s no wonder we see a more confused public over the “value” of diamonds in the marketplace. While certain “brands” may in fact be better from a light-return standpoint or offer an identification benefit, simply adding a laser inscription to a diamond’s girdle in itself does nothing to enhance the stone’s beauty. Yet the simple procedure may add perceived “value” to the public if well marketed by the seller.
As an appraiser, NGL basically reports what the consumer pays for gemstones and jewelry and if one seller gets more for their product through a brand distinction, then so be it. When a laser-inscription is applied to the girdle it does make identification easier with a jeweler’s loupe. An ID number, or a romantic saying visible at 10X allows the layperson to readily identify their stone. It does not, however replace the need for a diagram of inclusions, which offers conclusive proof of your diamond’s identity. One can have a diamond re-polished or re-cut to remove surface treatments, but the internal characteristics remain. That is why NGL plots the center diamond as part of our appraisal.
Although rare, laser-inscription may be also detrimental to the diamond. A recent client had an internally flawless diamond sent in for inscription, which because of lack of inclusions seemed like a good idea. Everything went fine, and I updated his appraisal with the new inscription, but a sloppy job as pictured here, would have actually lowered the clarity grade! And, like a tattoo, your “To Sally, Love Snookums” inscription may hinder the diamond’s resale if Sally and Snookums ever part company.
The main reason for name branding is, of course marketing. Most Americans associate a higher value on similar items which are well-marketed, packaged or trendy — even crystallized carbon!