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Nanopictures on your diamonds? Really?

If this press release is not a hoax, you should soon be able to inscribe your favorite photos on the diamonds and other precious gems you already own. A Silicon Valley firm, Gemory LLC, says it has developed 'a new nanotechnology process that permanently inscribes high-resolution photos on any diamond or other gemstone.' This would make an attractive gift, but I'm not sure if the company can deliver. Read more to see why I have some doubts about this service...
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Written by Roland Piquepaille, Inactive on

If this press release is not a hoax, you should soon be able to inscribe your favorite photos on the diamonds and other precious gems you already own. A Silicon Valley firm, Gemory LLC, says it has developed 'a new nanotechnology process that permanently inscribes high-resolution photos on any diamond or other gemstone.' This would make an attractive gift, but I'm not sure if the company can deliver. Read more to see why I have some doubts about this service...(Update: January 17, 2008) Melanie Schmitt from GoDaddy.com wrote me that they have a WhoIs search tool. Look at the end of this post for more details. (Update: January 18, 2008) Rob Bates, editor of the Jewelers Circular Keystone blog sent me a message saying he interviewed the founder of Gemory, Erwan Le Roy. And other readers pointed me to several patents applications filed by him. Look at the end of this post for more details.

Gemory pictures for your diamonds

As Gemory LLC states, you can put any kind of pictures on your favorite precious ones, like photos of your children or your loved one as shown above. (Credit: Gemory LLC website)

Before looking at the reasons why I'm not sure that the company can deliver what its press release promises, let's look at some excerpts. "For the past 25 years inscription technology has only allowed inscription of letters, numbers and simple, all-black logos. Gemory has catapulted the diamond-inscription industry into a new era by developing the ability to inscribe high-resolution photos in a full-range of grayscale tones. Plus, Gemory's proprietary technology is unique in its ability to make those photos inscriptions that are non-invasive and last forever on the surface of a diamond."

It also states that it will not damage your precious gems. "All other inscription technology uses lasers that etch the diamond deeply by melting and removing some of the diamond. The high heat of the laser leaves a graphite residue that shows up black on the diamond. Not only can this inscription process damage the gem's clarity and reduce its value, but air moisture or a standard gemstone cleaning can wash the graphite away, leaving the inscription difficult to read."

As you might have guessed, Gemory's motto is "Memories are forever." But is Gemory for real? A quick research showed that the domain name has been registered via GoDaddy.com, Inc.. So people like you and me cannot know who is behind the registration process.

Now, let's look at the About Us page on the site. It just states that "Gemory is a Limited Liability Company located in the heart of Silicon Valley." An address? No. A phone? No. If you want to contact Gemory, you don't find any more details. You just can fill a form.

Now, let's look at the people quoted in the press release. This document mentions Jay A. Mednikow, President of J. H. Mednikow & Company, Inc.. On this page on the Mednikow website, you can read: "With a degree in economics from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, Jay brings contemporary thinking to a traditional family business."

This becomes interesting because the press release also quotes Patricia Thornton, adjunct professor of management at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. And guess what? Thornton is the only faculty member without a web page as you can see on this list.

You also should read the Gemory FAQs section for a good laugh. Q: "Does this inscription add security to my stone?" A: "Yes. Gemory's patent pending inscription process is like a nanofinger print on your diamond. It can only be done in Gemory laboratory. It provides the most unique security feature for your precious gem. Once you have your own picture on your stone, you can use the viewer at any time to verify that this is your diamond." Just in case stole your diamond at home and replace it by a fake one?

And don't miss the special auction section on Gemory's website. You can "bid on eBay for a 2.5 carat diamond with your favorite photograph on it!" You'll see a short video (1 minute and 9 seconds) which is also directly available on YouTube. It has been viewed by 98 people as I'm writing this post.

So is Gemory a fake company or a real one? Please send me your thoughts.

(Update: January 17, 2008) Here is the direct link to the GoDaddy search tool. Using it, I found that Gemory.com has been registered to Erwan Le Roy, 36241 Indian Wells drive, Newark, California. But what is even more interesting is that the expiration date for the site is February 8, 2008. So, if Erwan Le Roy doesn't renew his subscription very soon, it will be pretty hard to contact Gemory to get a photo inscribed on a diamond. But draw your own conclusions...

(Update: January 18, 2008) Here is the direct link to the Rob Bates post on the Jewelers Circular Keystone blog. He wrote: "Gemory's founder, Erman Lee, claims it can inscribe multiple photos, on girdles and tables, on stone as small as one pointers. (The pictures will require a special viewer to see.) The photos themselves are no bigger than the width of a hair, he says. Lee told me his proprietary, patent-pending technology, which he would not describe, grew out of his work in the semi-conductor field. He says it does not damage the diamond in any way, and uses different technology than GIA's laser-based method, or De Beers' ion beam-based technology which it uses for the Forevermark." So according to Bates, the name of Gemory founder is Erman Lee, not Erwan Le Roy. Strange... Anyway, other readers told me to look at patents applications filed by Erwan Le Roy. You can discover these 5 patents applications here.

Sources: Gemory LLC press release, January 15, 2008; and various websites

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