Laser Inscriptions vs. Plotting

Back in the 1950s when the diamond grading system was developed, plotting was also developed. This was a system of drawing the inclusions and surface characteristics of a diamond on a line diagram of the diamond. The original purpose of a plot was to identify the diamond if necessary at a later date. Plotting can be time consuming, especially when a diamond has many inclusions. Plotting also has a tendency to make a diamond look worse than it actually is because tiny microscopic features are now plotted larger than life on a diagram of the diamond. Then, in the 1980s, laser technology advanced and laser inscriptions started to be etched on the girdle edge of the diamond. These inscriptions often were of the grading report number but could also include logos and even personal messages. As these became more popular, some labs such as the GIA began offering a laser inscription in lieu of a plot for identification. No standards exist for when a plot should be performed or when a laser inscription will suffice for identifying the diamond. This is a personal choice of the labs and their policies, the appraisers and their policies, and the consumers and their preferences.