Diamond Clarity Enhancement
What are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds?
A clarity enhanced diamond is a completely natural diamond that in its natural state had an eye visible inclusion impairing its overall beauty. Processes now exist to “remove” these eye visible inclusions and restore the beauty this diamond has. There are two commonly used techniques to enhance a diamond, the first being laser drilling and the second is fracture filling. A laser drilled diamond is as the name suggests, a laser is used to bore a hole thinner than a human hair to a wholly enclosed visible inclusion. Once the hole reaches the inclusion it is chemically processed, or "bleached", to remove apparent color from the inclusion making it more transparent. Fracture filling is a technique where a silicate material is used to fill the microscopic void in a feather inclusion. Feather inclusions are named for their visual appearance in a diamond, the filling helps take away some of the harsh reflective quality of the inclusion allowing it to virtually disappear into the stone. There are other methods of enhancing a diamond such as High Pressure-High Temperature treatment (HPHT) where certain types of diamond are re-introduced to laboratory created inner earth conditions they were formed in, this process yields colorless diamonds, however it is expensive and carries a high risk of damaging the diamond.
I heard Clarity Enhanced Diamonds aren’t worth as much?
All diamonds have a value, and that value is determined with industry standard pricing guides. The diamonds that get enhanced usually fall into the lower end of that guide but still carry a value based on their carat weight. Incidentally the process of enhancing a diamond doesn’t add any addition cost (or weight) to the finished stone, enhanced diamonds often maintain their pre-enhancement prices according to those price guides. So while your enhanced diamond might not have been as expensive as a higher quality natural clarity diamond it certainly has the same visual appeal as that stone, but only a fraction of the cost.
But don’t they only use the worst of the worst when enhancing diamonds?
Not at all, while initially the process was perfected on diamonds with obvious inclusions some manufacturers started enhancing diamonds with minimal inclusions, drastically changing their overall appearance and beauty. This was due mainly to the market demand for high clarity diamonds, however the prices of these diamonds rose significantly leaving a lot of people unable to afford the diamond they’ve always wanted. More manufactures began enhancing diamonds that might have been graded an SI-1 or SI-2 in the GIA, but as an enhanced stone it now has the visual appearance of a VS-2 clarity. The price difference between a natural SI-1 and a VS-2 diamond can be as much as 30%, so in a way buying an SI-1 diamond that was enhanced to the appearance of a VS-2 clarity will save you a third of what that natural VS-2 diamond costs!
I was told an enhanced diamond needs special care, do I have to take special caution with my stone?
In many cases no, you can wear and enjoy your enhanced diamond without ever having to worry about the enhancement. However if your jewelry requires repairs involving a torch the repairing jeweler should be informed that the diamond was enhanced. A jeweler’s torch is hot enough to melt the metal your ring is made of, so if direct contact to fracture filling is made some of the enhancement may burn. There are of course methods of repairing enhanced diamond jewelry that will pose no risk to your stone, always ask your jeweler if they’re qualified to repair enhanced diamond jewelry before giving them your item. And don’t worry about using ultrasonic cleaners, polishing wheels or having your ring electroplated, none of these will endanger your stone. If you have any doubt about the ability of your local jeweler to make these repairs you can always send us back your ring and our professional jewelers will take that extra bit of care to fix your ring.