Since the diamond mining industry’s inception, it’s been notoriously hard to track the path of a mined diamond. But thanks to new technology and some innovation, all of that is about to change.
Diamond mining company ALROSA recently announced its plans to employ non-invasive laser markings to its diamonds. This marking can only be “read” using a scanning machine provided by ALROSA. The machine is designed specifically to scan these nano marks.
This is the first time anyone has used technology like this to trace diamonds for commercial use. It’s an exciting new development in the diamond industry, but what exactly does it mean? Let’s take a look at what this new nano mark technology might mean for both jewelers and consumers.
In terms of carats, ALROSA is the world’s leading diamond mining company—they account for 25% of global diamond production and about 90% of Russia’s diamond output. In 2019, ALROSA produced 35.5 million carats of rough diamonds.
ALROSA engages in the exploration, mining, and sale of rough diamonds. They also have their own diamond cutting facility. And now, they have brought an exciting new technology to the diamond industry with their innovative NanoMark technology.
About ALROSA’s NanoMark
ALROSA’s method of marking its gems allows diamonds to be uniquely identified. This provides detailed information about the diamond’s provenance—where the diamond came from and to whom it has belonged in the past. The nano mark is subatomic, meaning it cannot be removed, but it also doesn’t compromise the integrity of the diamond. The nano mark can be seen only using ALROSA’s proprietary scanner.
This new technology solves a huge problem in the existing mine-to-market system—since rough diamonds are often cut, the subatomic nature of this mark means that it cannot be cut from the diamond.
The Benefits of ALROSA’s Nano Mark
In addition to being able to track the provenance of a diamond for authenticity’s sake (if it has an ALROSA nano mark, there’s no risk that the diamond is a fake), the ability to track a diamond’s origins is beneficial for people concerned about the ethics of diamond mining.
Diamond mining has a complicated history, and the demand for conflict-free diamonds has increased in the last few decades. By applying a nano mark upon mining, consumers can feel confident that the diamond they’re purchasing was not mined unethically.
In addition to providing details about its origin, ALROSA’s nano mark also provides a “digital passport” with information about the diamond’s characteristics, a unique ID number, a photo and video, and information regarding how the diamond was cut.
Some scientists think that as technology advances, using this technology will become an important way to embed large amounts of data inside a marked diamond—data such as images, music, or large media files.
Sergey Ivanov, CEO of ALROSA, said in a press release: “Guided by growing market demand, we are focusing our efforts on tracing and guaranteeing the origin of our diamonds. As the world’s largest vertically integrated diamond-mining company, ALROSA is in a unique position: with access to the full cycle of manufacturing, we have all the necessary information about our polished diamonds and the rough diamonds from which they were cut. The laser nano mark technology we have created allows these guarantees to be extended to the diamonds sold by our partners. By purchasing jewelry with a diamond protected by a nano mark, the buyer can be sure that it was actually made by ALROSA.”
While ALROSA may be the first to deploy this new technology, there are already others ready to follow in their footsteps. We are excited about this new tech, and can’t wait to see what it means for the future of the diamond mining industry!