Dear DD,

I inherited a 3-carat pear-shaped diamond ring from my mother. I brought it to the jeweler from whom my father purchased the ring, many years ago, in anticipation of selling it back to him. He examined the diamond with his loupe, and quickly handed it back to me. He explained that the diamond has a laser-drill hole. He cannot sell such a diamond! The diamond was treated and is no longer desirable.

I was extremely disappointed. I was really counting on turning the ring into cash. Can you explain the problem about the laser-drill hole? Why would he sell them such a diamond? What do you suggest I do with the diamond now?

In The Hole

Dear ITH,

In 1970, a new technology was introduced, perfected, and widely accepted throughout the diamond manufacturing industry–laser drilling. It was a simple enhancement process. A minuscule hole, with a hairline channel, was laser-drilled into the diamond.

Most diamonds are naturally created with carbon inclusions. At times, these imperfections are visible to the naked eye. The laser beam would burn out the black, leaving a much smaller imperfection, so the stone looked clean. It would turn white or clear. This greatly improved the appearance and salability, and thus the value, of the diamond.

The effects of this laser application are permanent. The inclusions can never revert to their original stage. Since this “treatment” was indeed permanent, and these lasered diamonds were being traded in the global diamond market, the FTC ruled that drilled diamonds can be sold, even to the public, without disclosure.

In 1982, a scientist invented a new fracture-filling process that filled the hole with a crystal type substance. This substance caused most inclusions to become clear and blend in better with the diamond. This process is not permanent and the diamond can revert to its original appearance. It is difficult for an untrained eye to be aware that the diamond was treated with this new process, even after examining under a 10-power loupe.

Many unscrupulous individuals began selling such fracture-filled diamonds without disclosure, against FTC regulation. After customers discovered that they had inadvertently purchased these treated diamonds, there was an understandable uproar! As a result, retailers totally refused to deal in fracture-filled treated diamonds.

Lasered diamonds are technically also defined as treated diamonds. To avoid any confusion, retailers stopped selling drilled diamonds as well!

Nevertheless, both lasered and fracture-filled diamonds are still being sold, with full disclosure, by a limited group of reputable dealers, at very deep discounts.

The good news is that lasered diamonds are preferred to fracture-filled ones. If you approach any large diamond buying company, they know how to reach this niche market and will help you sell your ring.

Diamond Dave

“Diamond Dave” is a longtime expert in the diamond and jewelry trade. Send questions and comments for him to

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