Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Info 101
Are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds A Good Idea?
There are controversies that surround the use of the term clarity enhanced diamonds, which many fine jewelers say misleads the consumer. Yes, it is a marketing spin on the term diamond treatments and many times, can lead uninformed consumers to believe they are purchasing a more valuable gem—when the reality is that a diamond is devalued once any enhancement has been done.
Top notch jewelers don't sell diamonds that have been treated in any way. However, this doesn't mean you should never buy enhanced diamonds or not consider an appropriate treatment to restore a diamond's clarity. Laser drilling may be just what is needed to restore the brilliance grandma's diamond ring or necklace before you have it reset.
Many feel that as long as diamond treatments are disclosed, the consumer is making an informed decision. However, unscrupulous jewelers do not disclose them and sell enhanced diamonds for much more than they are worth. As diamond enhancements are controversial, the CIBJO (World Jewelry Confederation), the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the GIA require full disclosure of any diamond treatments.
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What Is A Diamond Clarity Flaw?
Every diamond is a unique, one-of-a-kind creation by Mother Nature and being who She is, flawless diamonds are extremely rare. During the crystallization process in most diamonds, minute minerals become trapped or cracks occur. There are many different types of flaws, also known as inclusions. Some common inclusions are called carbon (black dots), pinpoint (white or clear dots), feathers (cracks), clouds (hazy areas created from many small crystals too small to see individually) and crystalline growth (a crystal growth that looks like a small diamond within a larger one).
The factors that go into assessing a diamond's clarity value are:
- Size of inclusions
- Number of inclusions
- Location. Are they found in inside, lower facets or on the surface (more obvious)?
- Color. Black (carbon) inclusions are more visible than white or clear (pinpoint) ones. Pinpoint inclusions are the most common types of flaws.
- Affects durability. Based on their size and location, some inclusions such as feathers, may affect a diamond's long-term durability. Feathers are small cracks inside a stone. While small feathers can be harmless, they will lower the clarity rating. Large feathers can grow as a diamond ages and potentially break the diamond apart.
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has a scale to rate the different amount of inclusions. Study their Diamond Clarity Rating Scale here.
Enhanced Diamond Types
Way back when, can you believe that diamonds used to be clarity enhanced with such low tech tricks as a shiny foil backing or a drop of dye on the bottom point (culet) to fool the consumer? Today's highly sophisticated methods include laser drilling, fracture filling and irradiation to improve diamond clarity.
More Diamond Treatment Tips
Learn more about these diamond treatments to help you decide if this is something you want to consider:
Jewelry Info & Buying Tips
Do Your Research
If you tell your jeweler that you are willing to deal with clarity enhanced diamonds and show that you have some knowledge of what you are seeking, a reputable diamond dealer who deals with treated diamonds will be more inclined to give you better information about any treatments used on the diamond that you are considering. Of course, ask for guarantees, get everything in writing and even ask to examine the stone under a microscope if it is laser drilled or fracture filled.
Be aware that advanced treatments are being developed and applied that can't be detected even by an experienced retailer, who doesn't have the special equipment or training to examine such treatments.
Some jewelers and consumers feel that "better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one."
Whether or not that is true for you is only something you can decide. Learn about clarity diamond enhancements to see if enhanced diamonds are the deal you want.