Diamonds with pure characteristics are rare and highly valuable.
For every diamond that is colorless and without inclusions there are millions upon millions of stones that have inclusions to lesser or greater degrees.
To get some use out of the stones with more inclusions manufacturers have developed ways to enhance or treat them. However, not every diamond can be clarity enhanced.
It is good to be informed on how the treatments will affect the long term state of the diamond.
Once you know how certain treatments affect diamonds you may then be in a better position to make an informed decision about choosing a diamond which has been treated to enhance its clarity.
A vast amount of research and expense has gone into developing diamond clarity enhancement. These are the most frequently used methods:
Laser Drilling. This is one way of getting rid of inclusions. A tiny hole is drilled into the diamond using a laser. The inclusion, if not made of diamond itself, is cleared with sulphuric acid. The microscopic hole is then either left as is or is filled with something like molten glass (though the recipe is a patented secret), which removes most of the hole’s visibility.
Coating. This involves a thin covering or dye. Coatings change the color of a diamond, though some can make it appear whiter by cancelling out a particular color. Some diamonds will only be coated on the girdle or pavillion, which makes it difficult to tell if it is coated when the diamond is in a setting. It is fraudulent to sell a coated diamond without disclosing it as such.
Glass fillings and some color coatings can be affected by a jewelers torch and by high temperature cleaning processes. It’s important that when you bring jewelry in to be cleaned or worked on that a jeweler is informed if a stone has glass fillings or is coated. Jewelers will not want to risk damaging the rock and will most likely not attempt to resize a ring if it holds a clarity enhanced rock.
Clarity enhanced diamonds are much more affordable than naturally occuring perfect diamonds, so you have to decide if the drawbacks really are that bad. It is good to let a jeweler know that a diamond has had clarity enhancement before they get started setting your diamond, or cleaning your ring. They may only agree to work on it if you have a guarantee on the enhancement. The only place that I know of that offers a lifetime warranty on any clarity enhanced diamonds sold is Diamonds-USA. They offer a huge range of natural diamonds as well as clarity enhanced and color enhanced diamonds. See their page on clarity enhanced diamonds: http://www.diamonds-usa.com/diamonds/clarity_enhanced_diamonds.asp
The Gemological Institute of America will not grade a diamond with fracture fillings, so if you want clarity enhanced diamonds you’ll have to look for vendors who also stock diamonds graded by other labs.
If you don’t want a clarity enhanced diamonds here are the ways to avoid inadvertently being sold a clarity enhanced diamond:
- Make your purchase only from outlets or online vendors who disclose in writing all treatments (including laser drilling) to diamonds and other gemstones in compliance with the FTC Guidelines and the AGTA Gemstone Enhancement Manual.
- Find out if the vendor deals with any synthetic or imitation stones and if they are clearly labeled as such.
- Find out about any imported stones and whether they are labeled with country of origin.
- Read the written disclosures and disclaimers on sales invoices and laboratory/grading reports.
- Only buy clarity enhanced diamonds that have a lifetime guarantee on the enhancement. (such as is provided by Diamonds-USA)