What is a Clarity-Enhanced Diamond?
Clarity Diamonds are diamonds that go under different procedures to reduce or remove the visibility of blemishes or inclusions that were visible to the naked eye. Some of the procedures a clarity diamond goes under are laser drill, deep boil, fraction drill, or special laser drill. Some of these procedures are performed on the diamonds to remove blemishes, while others fill in the cracks and fractures. These diamonds differ from others because they have undergone different processes that have changed their clarity grade level. Before undergoing treatment, these diamonds have a clarity grade of I1, I2, or I3.
The treatments performed on the diamonds help improve their appearance and durability, making them more valuable.
Clarity enhancement stages
A clarity-enhanced diamond goes through all the enhancement stages to have dark spots, fractures, and cracks removed from it.
The deep boiling procedure works on diamonds with specific types of inclusions. The diamond is boiled under deep pressure in an acidic solution in this procedure. In addition, deep boiling is the only clarity enhancement procedure that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) sanctions.
The only kind of inclusions deep boiling will work on are black inclusions that reach the surface of the diamond. If the inclusions do not reach the surface of the diamond, the acidic solution will not penetrate it. Deep boiling removes the black compound settled in the inclusion cavities.
This procedure is affordable since it only involves deep boiling the diamond in acid to remove the black inclusions and is carried out on all diamonds before the manufacturer decides to sort them.
Unlike deep boiling, the laser drilling procedure is performed on diamonds whose black inclusions do not reach the surface level of the diamond. Instead, a laser beam is used to burn a microscopic hole in the surface of the diamond to get the inclusion contained inside it. This hole is made so the acidic solution can reach the black inclusion and clean it. Once the pathway from the hole in the surface to the inclusion is made, the diamond is deep boiled in an acidic solution.
In this process, a small but visible processed tunnel will be burned into the surface of the diamond using a laser beam all the way to the inclusion, which was previously black. This procedure is also commonly known as laser drilling. Anyone selling these enhanced diamonds is required to declare the usage of the method legally. Treating diamonds with laser drilling is not sanctioned by the GIA.
Special laser drilling
Special laser drilling is almost the same as regular laser drilling except that instead of drilling a small tunnel into the surface, a tiny thin plane is burned all the way through until the laser beam reaches the black inclusion.
Although the inclusion left behind with special laser drilling through a thin plane is larger than the inclusion left behind from the regular tunnel inclusion, it has more advantages and appeals to diamond dealers.
Special laser drilling is preferred over regular tunnel laser drilling because the mark left behind is more natural-looking and challenging to detect. In addition, the inclusion through the flat thin plane is easier to fill in through a procedure called ‘Fracture Filling’ than the inclusion from regular laser drilling.
Inclusions made through different procedures in the surface of the diamond to the black inclusions within the diamond need to be filled. Fracture filling fills the inclusion cavities with a unique formula of silicone and various compounds in microscopic amounts. It works best when the inclusion cavity is of the type ‘feather’ where it becomes nearly invisible when filled with the unique formula of silicon and different compounds.
You can only fill an inclusion in the diamond if it reaches the surface because there is no other way to reach the inclusion and inject the special formula or ‘fracture’ to fill the inclusion cavity. Thus, all diamonds that are selected to be fracture-filled need to be drilled using the special laser drill method to open up a path from the surface to the black inclusion allowing the solution to reach it.
What is the cost of clarity diamonds?
The best part about clarity-enhanced diamonds is that they cost less than non-enhanced diamonds. Therefore, people can afford to buy a larger clarity enhanced diamond at a much lower price than a sizeable non-enhanced diamond. The clarity enhancement procedure is conducted using natural rough diamonds of lower clarity to increase the original diamond clarity, reducing the cost by a large margin compared to the cost of natural rough diamonds with high clarity. However, no other property of the diamond, including weight, cut, or color, is changed during the clarity enhancement procedure.
Many people look out for beautiful diamond engagement rings to propose to their loved ones. The choice of one’s engagement ring is a memorable moment for the rest of the couple’s life. Since it is a big decision that people often get anxious taking, it is essential to have the right kind of information regarding different types of diamonds and their qualities. Therefore, it is good to have a rough estimate of the budget you want to spend to filter out the options available to you. Then, you can afford a large and brighter diamond with clarity-enhanced diamonds while staying within your price range.
Pros of clarity enhanced diamonds
- After going under the clarity enhancement procedure, clarity-enhanced diamonds look a thousand times better.
- You can buy a large diamond at a relatively lower price.
- They are less expensive per carat.
- The inclusions and blemishes are barely visible to the naked eye.
Cons of clarity enhanced diamonds
- The clarity of the enhanced diamonds can not match the clarity of good quality natural diamonds even after undergoing the enhancement procedure due to some leftover artificial inclusions in the stones.
- The diamonds that undergo the enhancement procedure are primarily poor-quality I2 and I3 stones that nobody would typically want to buy, even for a lower price. On the other hand, good-quality I1 diamonds do not need to go through enhancement features because they already have exceptional clarity.
- Due to the laser drilling and the artificial filling in the inclusions, the structural integrity of the clarity diamond is not up to par. As a result, all enhanced stones or diamonds have a compromised structure that may sometimes even be visible to the naked eye. A single laser drill might not significantly impact the structural integrity, but diamonds that go through multiple procedures and drillings have a shorter life span by at least several decades.
- There is a high chance that cutters have attempted to make the artificial drillings and inclusions look like natural inclusions by curving the drilling holes to deceive customers. The increased possibility of fraud with clarity-enhanced diamonds makes them a less reliable purchase because sellers try to sell them with a high clarity price tag of natural diamonds.
- Although clarity-enhanced diamonds are marketed as budget-friendly diamonds that you can buy in bigger sizes, they still tend to come with higher price tags compared to what they are worth. A clarity-enhanced diamond usually has the same price tag as a Slightly Included diamond but does not match its quality. Simply put, clarity-enhanced diamonds are just an I2 or I3 diamond made to look better through the clarity enhancement procedure.
Alternatives to clarity enhanced diamonds
If you are convinced that clarity-enhanced diamonds are not worth the price tag that comes with them, and you are on a tight budget and wondering if there is an alternate option, then hear us out! Buying a diamond should get you to invest some time into investigating it. Experts recommend that all the people on a budget spend some time looking at low clarity diamonds that look good to the naked eye. It is better to go for a visually appealing diamond instead of simply going for the one with high clarity grading. Another way you could buy a diamond that fits your budget is to choose the placement of the stone in the jewelry so that its imperfections are hidden. You could plan your jewelry’s setting with your jeweler in detail and let him know what you are looking for.
In addition to the suggestions above, you could also opt for lab-grown diamonds if you are on a really tight budget since these diamonds have phenomenal clarity and are 80% less expensive than naturally mined diamonds.
Frequently asked questions
How can I know if a diamond is enhanced?
The jeweler you are buying your diamond from must disclose if the diamond has undergone a clarity enhancement procedure. If you are buying from a reputable jeweler, you should not be afraid of being scammed. However, many unknown jewelers can try to scam and trick the customer into purchasing a clarity-enhanced diamond for the same price as a natural diamond without disclosing information about the procedure. If a deal sounds too good to be true, do not hesitate to ask if the diamond has undergone any enhancement procedure since some jewelers might delay telling you that information.
Does the jeweler know if a diamond is enhanced?
Many jewelers might not be aware that the diamonds they are selling have gone through enhancement procedures. The best way to detect any enhancement in the diamond is to look through a gemological microscope. A gemological microscope will help detect the fracture-filled inclusions. The inclusions filled with fracture filling often leave behind a strong or faint neon color in the diamond, which usually is not visible to the naked eye. When you observe a diamond face down under a gemological microscope, you will be able to see the neon colors distinctly. The neon colors under the microscope show that the diamond has been clarity enhanced.
Does clarity enhancement reduce the cost of the diamond?
Clarity enhancement does not reduce the cost of the diamond, and here is why. A person buying an enhanced diamond is essentially paying for the price of the stone before the treatment and for the labor cost incurred during the enhancement procedures. Nobody wants a diamond with visible inclusions and black spots. If a person is willing to pay 15 thousand dollars for a diamond, he will happily pay for a clarity-enhanced diamond whose worth was 8 thousand before the treatment and is sold for 9 to 10 thousand dollars after treatment.
What could cause the fracture filling in the diamond to come out?
According to the Gemological Institute of America, the fracture fillings in the diamond could only come out in three conditions: exposure to fire, exposure to boiling acid, and re-cutting the diamond for any reason. You should be aware of the jeweler torching or boiling your diamond in acid by letting them know that it is clarity enhanced. If you are handing over your diamond to the jeweler to fit it in a ring, hand him the guarantee card, so he knows that your diamond is clarity enhanced and deals with it accordingly.
Simply put, clarity-enhanced diamonds are a good option for those who are on a tight budget and are not bothered by the clarity difference noticed through a gemological microscope. Whether or not a clarity diamond is worth is entirely your opinion. You can easily buy a larger-sized clarity diamond at a much lower price than a large, naturally mined diamond. Suppose there are any inclusions visible to the naked eye after the procedure. In that case, you may try to play around with the jewelry setting and placement of the diamond so that the blemishes and inclusions are hidden. However, it would be best to buy from a reputable jeweler who is not afraid to disclose that a diamond has gone under any procedure to avoid getting scammed.
If you have doubts about a jeweler offering you a deal that is too good to be true and is not disclosing anything about the diamond’s clarity enhancement procedure, please feel free to ask questions. If you already own a clarity-enhanced diamond, ensure that your jeweler does not bring it near flames or boils it in acid by informing him beforehand.