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Let’s face reality. There are two extremes when buying diamonds. There are purists who want only the finest of quality and are willing to sacrifice size, and there are those who are willing to sacrifice quality in order to get the largest possible diamond. To the former we say, do an advanced diamond search on our home page and you’ll find what you’re looking for. To the latter, we offer you the clarity enhanced option.
There is nothing wrong with purchasing a diamond that has been drilled or filled as long as you are aware of exactly what clarity enhancement has been performed on the stone. In fact, purchasing treated stones is a great way to get extra luster for your money. As long as you know what you’re buying, this is an alternate way to own a stone that looks more valuable than it is.
There are basically two different methods of enhancing the clarity of natural diamonds. It is first necessary to explain the nature of inclusions and how they are enhanced. There are many different types of inclusions: feathers, clouds, wisps, crystals and fractures, to name a few.
Laser Drilling is a process whereby a tiny laser beam is drill into the diamond to reach a black crystal which untreated, will be clearly visible to the unaided eye. Once this pathway has been created, the diamond is then soaked in an acid solution until the black color in the crystal turns white. In most cases depending on the size and location, the inclusion having turned white will no longer be visible to the naked eye, hence improving the clarity. The drill marks themselves are visible under side view magnification as well as appearing as a white mark from the top. These marks alone would bring a “GIA” clarity grade of “VS1″ or “VS2″, thereby making the process only practical in lower clarity grades than that.
Many “feather fractures” can also be seen with the naked rendering them undesirable and unmarketable. It is possible to enhance these diamonds by a process known as filling. This is done by filling in the fracture with a form of molten glass. Neither the GIA nor the EGL as of the time this was written do not grade filled stones because they have no way of knowing what the original clarity grade would have been.
However, the treatment may not be permanent. Laser drilling does not alter the strength of the diamond. Standard cleaning methods for diamonds can eventually ruin the filling. Jewelry repair using heat treatment or mounting the stone can damage the treatment but won’t affect the appearance of the stone. Extended exposure to sunlight can sometimes cause the filler to discolor.
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