One of the most valuable traits of a diamond is its clarity. However, many diamonds that have imperfections are artificially manipulated to increase this trait, this process is called clarity enhancement and while it may make a diamond look aesthetically pleasing, it is not always beneficial fr the buyer.
Improving a diamond’s clarity
You may be wondering what all the fuss is about improving a diamond’s clarity. The truth of the matter is that a diamond is more valuable when it has not been artificially augmented. Besides general polishing and diamond cleaning, any other artificial enhancements to improve the color or clarity of the diamond will result in a lower valued stone.
For some people buying a clarity enhanced stone is attractive, they purchase a beautiful looking stone for much less than an untouched diamond, however the problem lies with shady diamond salesmen that will fraudulently sell you a diamond that has been artificially manipulated for the same price as an untouched stone. This is why it is extremely important to understand diamonds and the processes in which a diamond can be clarity enhanced so that you can make an educated decision when buying a top quality stone.
There are a few ways in which the clarity of a diamond can be manipulated. One of the more common methods is to drill a tiny whole in the diamond in order to remove an inclusion which is minerals or elements that can cause discoloring. Other methods include filling cracks or fissures in a diamond with sealant and color treatments that try to improve a diamonds color or to give the diamond an exotic hue.
Possibly the most common way a diamond is clarity enhanced is by drilling. Many diamonds that are the right size and color but have inclusions which are generally iron oxide or more commonly called rust usually are candidates for drilling. Drilling is usually done with a laser which neatly makes a small hole down through the diamond to the inclusion. Acid is usually used to remove the rust from the diamond making it clear of any inclusions. At this point the diamond may be left with a small fracture or it may be filled, usually with heavy glass that is unnoticeable to the naked eye. This technique of filling fissures, drilled holes and fractures is known as fracture filling and can take place in diamonds that were drilled to remove inclusions or diamonds with small fissures. Instead of heavy glass, small cracks and fissures can also be filled with tiny diamond vapor depositions which are almost undetectable as well.
If a diamond has had other augmentation done to it besides basic cutting, polishing and cleaning it must be openly stated with full disclosures according to FTC rules. Although diamond augmentation must be disclosed to the buyer, unfortunately many diamonds that have had fracture filling, laser drilling or other types of treatments are never disclosed to the buyer by shoddy diamond traders and the consumer pays full price for a diamond that in reality is worth much less.
If you are planning on buying a diamond it is extremely important to be aware of clarity enhanced diamonds and detecting if a diamond you intend to purchase has been augmented in any way. Many times a diamond will be extremely difficult to detect if it is an enhanced diamond. If you look closely you may be able to see a small drill hole from laser drilling or you may notice cloudy spots that may indicate enhancements. However, your best bet is for you to ask the diamond seller if you can have it appraised by an independent appraising firm. Having a gemologist look at your diamond and do certain tests to determine if a diamond is enhanced is the best course of action for any consumer buying an expensive diamond, this way you can usually tell with high certainty that your diamond has not been enhanced in any way.