WHAT ARE ENHANCED DIAMONDS?
WHAT ARE ENHANCED DIAMONDS?
Enhanced diamonds begin as extremely included or low-color diamonds; thus, they go through a specialized process to increase their clarity or color. While enhanced diamonds do have some disadvantages, treatment lessens the appearance of visible imperfections or improves their dull color. This means a shopper can purchase a larger, eye-clean diamond for a lower price or a diamond with an intense hue for much less.
Enhanced diamonds are distinct from natural, non-enhanced diamonds in that a gemologist improves their original form through a process that is not naturally occurring. These improvements also mean that these enhanced diamonds will likely require more care.
WHAT ARE COLOR-ENHANCED DIAMONDS?
High pressure, high temperature (HPHT) is the procedure used to change the hue of color-enhanced diamonds. You can use these diamond enhancements to make slightly colored diamonds appear whiter. Or, make low-color diamonds with a slight tint deepen in color or give them a particular tone, like yellow or pink.
WHAT DOES CLARITY-ENHANCED DIAMONDS MEAN?
Eye-clean diamonds are worth more than diamonds with visible flaws; hence, clarity-enhanced diamonds are flawed diamonds treated to improve their clarity grade. This treatment happens in several ways, but the most common is by drilling a tiny hole into the flawed diamond and then injecting it with a clarity-enhancing solution. This chemical solution fills in any cracks or blemishes on the damaged diamond, making it appear much clearer.
Clarity-enhanced diamonds are not necessarily better quality than untreated diamonds, but laser diamonds may be a good option for those looking for a diamond with better clarity.
There are four types of clarity enhancement: deep boiling, laser drilling, special laser drilling, and fracture filling. These enhancement methods aim to reduce the appearance of inclusions in a diamond. Many times they also impact the diamond's structure and brilliance. In essence, inclusions are "cavities" full of black material. If you can clean out the cavities, the inclusion becomes less noticeable.
With this method, diamonds boil under deep pressure in an acidic solution. The procedure is done on diamonds with black inclusions that reach the surface of the diamond. The deep boiling approach won't reach and affect an inclusion below the surface; hence it will not result in diamond chipping.
Deep boiling removes the black material, which masks the inclusion rather than filling it. The diamond industry often and cheaply uses deep boiling. Most diamond producers deep boil enormous quantities of diamonds to remove any surface-level black impurities.
This procedure is generally respected and does not affect the diamond's value. In actuality, the GIA has only allowed deep boiling diamonds as a method of clarity improvement.
In laser drilling, special lasers burn a minuscule hole in black inclusions below the surface of a diamond. After the laser has exposed the inclusion, the gemologist cleans out the inclusion, and the gemologist removes the black material by boiling the diamond.
Tiny tunnel inclusion develops in laser-enhanced diamonds where the lasers are bored during the laser drilling procedure. The laser-enhanced diamonds' durability is decreased by tunnel creation. Thus, the GIA does not approve this practice because it may cause diamond chipping. For this reason, every vendor must know when diamonds are drilled diamonds.
Special Laser Drilling:
The special laser drilling technique entails burning a tiny thin layer on the diamond's surface
to access the inclusion. Despite being wider than the laser drill holes, these thin spots typically have a more organic appearance. Additionally, the inclusion in the flat surface is simpler to fill than the tunnels made by conventional laser drilling.
The thin coating impacts the diamond's quality and durability, despite how difficult it is to see. The GIA does not approve this procedure and does not grant certificates to diamonds that have undergone laser drilling.
A gemologist uses fracture filling to inject a minuscule quantity of silicon and other substances into the inclusion cavities. For transparent "feather" type inclusions with unfilled voids that a gemologist may easily fill to appear almost invisible, fracture filling works well.
The appearance and brightness of an untreated diamond can be affected by fracture filling. The diamond may appear flawless when viewed from the top, but when viewed from other angles, the filling may obstruct the movement of light through the facets. Over time, fracture-filled diamonds may develop cloudiness or haze. Even in fillings, air bubbles can occasionally become trapped.
Due to how fracture filling affects the stone's beauty and durability, the GIA does not certify diamonds that have undergone the procedure.
ENHANCED DIAMONDS: PROS & CONS
Enhanced diamonds have been through a process to improve their clarity or color. These diamond improvements lessen the appearance of visible imperfections or improves a dull color. Although enhanced diamonds have some disadvantages, many people still prefer them over untreated diamonds. So let's discuss the pros and cons.
- These artificial diamond improvements make them 30-50% less expensive than non-enhanced diamonds.
- They are more sparkly than their original forms because of the clarity enhancement, and the color is more intense because of the HPHT treatments.
- They appear eye-clean, meaning their inclusions are not visible to the naked eye.
- The value of an enhanced diamond is lower than a natural diamond.
- No reliable certification, as the GIA does not grade drilled diamonds or fracture-filled diamonds.
- Due to laser drilling, fracture-filled diamonds' structure is weak and less durable.
- Cleaning is more difficult because enhanced diamonds can't go through ultrasonic cleaning or high temperatures due to the possibility of damage.
- Lower brilliance as filling compounds impact how light reflects off the diamond.
- Due to these fillings, the enhanced stone may eventually appear foggy or cloudy.
- Difficult to resell or trade. There are a number of reasons why it may be difficult to resell an enhanced diamond. Finally, the GIA does not grade laser diamonds or fracture-filled diamonds, meaning that these diamonds will not come with a reliable certificate. This makes it hard to verify the quality of the diamond, which can put potential buyers off.
- Repairing and resizing a ring can be challenging due to heat restrictions. While most rings can be resized using heat, this is not the case when set with clarity-enhanced diamonds. The heat from resizing could damage the fillings in the diamond, making it appear foggy or cloudy. In some cases, the heat may cause the filling to leak. As a result, it's best to avoid resizing a ring that contains a clarity-enhanced diamond. If you need to resize the ring, it's best to take it to a jeweler who specializes in working with these types of diamonds.
- When having your ring cleaned, repaired, or resized, you must inform jewelers and cleaners that it is an enhanced diamond to prevent harm. So they can use the proper cleaning techniques and take extra care not to damage your ring.
HOW TO CLEAN CLARITY-ENHANCED DIAMONDS?
A mild soapy water solution is a great way to clean your clarity-enhanced diamond. Give your jewelry 10 minutes to soak in the solution. Use a baby toothbrush to remove dirt and grime that has adhered to your jewelry. A baby toothbrush has a small brush head and gentle bristles to prevent scratching of the metal during cleaning. After thoroughly washing your jewelry, rinse, being sure to clean the underside of the diamond in its mounting. Then allow your clarity-enhanced diamonds to air dry on a fresh towel.
You should refrain from using cleansers that include ammonia. A clarity-enhanced diamond exposed to this type of acid runs the danger of the filling degrading and the diamond enhancements wearing away. Look carefully before you buy because many jewelry cleaning products nowadays are highly potent and include ammonia.
HOW LONG DO CLARITY-ENHANCED DIAMONDS LAST?
This is a question we get a lot. The answer, unfortunately, isn't as cut and dry as you might hope.
There are two types of clarity-enhanced diamonds: those treated with surface-level fillers and those that have undergone internal laser drilling.
Surface-level fillers fill in tiny cracks in diamonds. These diamond cracks are usually so small that they're invisible to the naked eye, but they are visible under a microscope. These small cracks in diamonds can form during the cutting and polishing process, or they can be natural.
In contrast, internal laser drilling reaches inclusions located deep within the diamond. To do this, a gemologist drills a tiny hole into the diamond, and the laser beam breaks up the internal inclusion.
The good news is that surface-level fillers used to treat diamond cracks are permanent. Once they're in place, they'll stay there forever. This is not the case with internally drilled diamonds.
Internal laser drilling is a little less permanent. Over time, the heat from the laser drilling can cause a diamond crack. The enhanced diamond will be highly susceptible to any damage and could break if a lot of pressure strikes it, such as during routine cleanings or repairs. However, a diamond crack doesn't usually happen for many years down the road.
In conclusion, the clarity-enhanced diamond will still last for a while, but not as long as a non-enhanced diamond.
ARE CLARITY-ENHANCED DIAMONDS WORTH ANYTHING?
Yes, clarity-enhanced diamonds, like all other diamonds, hold their value according to average price fluctuations of diamonds and current market values and conditions.
DO CLARITY-ENHANCED DIAMONDS HOLD THEIR VALUE?
Let's start by saying that an enhanced diamond is generally worth 30-50% less than a "natural" diamond of the same carat weight and quality specifications. This low price is because the clarity enhancement process is irreversible, and the stone's value will be affected accordingly.
However, that doesn't mean that your clarity-enhanced diamond won't hold its value over time. In fact, as long as you take proper care of your diamond and have it regularly inspected by a qualified jeweler, it should retain its value quite well.
However, keep in mind that this depends on the type of improvements made to the stone. For example, suppose your diamond was treated with a laser to remove surface-level blemishes. In that case, it will likely retain its value better than a diamond that underwent chemical processes (such as fracture filling) to improve its clarity. This is because the laser diamond's internal structure remains unaltered, while the fracture-filled diamond has been permanently altered and is more likely to show signs of wear over time.
ARE CLARITY-ENHANCED DIAMONDS REAL?
A clarity-enhanced diamond is a real diamond! A clarity-enhanced diamond is one that originally had visible inclusions, but they were "filled" using modern technology, making them less obvious. Because the treatment generates an improved diamond with the same properties as a real diamond, light passes through it as though the original inclusions were missing, allowing it to scintillate and glitter like a genuine certified diamond of "comparable" grade!
ARE ENHANCED DIAMONDS BAD?
No, enhanced diamonds are not bad. The term "enhanced" gets a bad rap in the diamond industry. In reality, all diamonds are enhanced to some degree. Even natural diamonds are cut and polished to bring out their best possible appearance.
- Even after their diamond treatments, enhanced diamonds don't have the same clarity as non-enhanced stones because the treatments create artificial flaws resembling internal tunnels in the gems.
- The diamonds pre-treatment are usually poor I2 and I3 stones that you wouldn't want to buy regardless of their price. Diamonds of I1 and higher quality don't typically go through clarity enhancement treatments because they don't need them.
- The structural stability of laser-treated diamonds isn't up to par. "Enhanced" diamonds have a weakened structure due to all the laser drilling and artificial fillings. A single laser drill tunnel is rarely a significant issue. However, if laser-treated diamonds have undergone several treatments (and I2 and I3 stones frequently require them), the diamond's life span is significantly shortened, even with regular maintenance.
- There's also fraudulent internal laser drilling, in which cutters intentionally make the laser drill holes curvy and meandering to appear as"natural inclusions." This deception defrauds the consumer for a higher price while weakening the diamond's structure.
- Clarity-enhanced diamonds are frequently overpriced. Enhanced diamonds are often marketed as low-cost alternatives to high-quality VVS (Very Very Slightly Included) and VS (Very slightly) stones. And, yes, enhanced diamonds are cheaper than VS diamonds, although they aren't worth their price. A clarity-enhanced diamond is typically valued similarly to a SI (Slightly Included) diamond, although it isn't as good - it's still a treated I2 or I3 stone.
Clarity-enhanced diamonds have their pros and cons. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages is essential to decide if an enhanced diamond is the right choice for you. Consider your budget, the 4C's of diamonds, and what's important to you before making a decision.
If you're looking for a stunning diamond that will stand the test of time, go for a non-enhanced stone. You'll pay more upfront, but you'll have a beautiful rock that will last generations. If you're on a budget or looking for a unique piece, an enhanced diamond might be the way to go. Just remember that these diamonds aren't as durable and will require more care over time.