Diamond Clarity Enhancement

Diamond Clarity Enhancement

by Shweta

Diamond clarity refers to the degree of transparency in the gemstone. If the number of flaws is less it indicates higher clarity and vice versa. Gems with more than 80% clarity are very rare in nature. Today, with new modern techniques it is possible to remove or reduce flaws and boost the clarity of natural diamonds. Mechanical treatments are widely used to enhance diamond clarity by removing the unwanted external and internal flaws from the stone.

Diamond Clarity Enhancement Treatments

Diamond clarity refers to the degree of transparency in the gemstone. If the number of flaws is less it indicates higher clarity and vice versa. Gems with more than 80% clarity are very rare in nature. Today, with new modern techniques it is possible to remove or reduce flaws and boost the clarity of natural diamonds. Mechanical treatments are widely used to enhance diamond clarity by removing the unwanted external and internal flaws from the stone.

Laser Drilling

Clear DiamondThis enhancement treatment technique has been found way back in 1980. Since then it has been successfully used for enhancing the clarity of diamonds. In this method, first a coating of amorphous carbon or any other energy-absorbent matter is applied on the stone’s surface. This is done because a diamond is transparent and with the help of this coating the laser beam passes through the stone easily. After the coating is applied, infrared laser having the wavelength of about 1060nm is inserted to drill tiny holes inside the gemstone. The size of these holes could be between 0.005-0.2 millimeters. The laser beam in these holes reaches the inclusion and burns it. The gemstone then is immersed in chemical solution to dissolve the flaws. The solution could be sulfuric acid or iron oxide. Once the imperfections are removed the holes are re-filled with the clear solution that makes the visibility of holes almost negligible.

Laser Drilling Leftover Marks

The holes made in the stone are so small that it has to be seen only through jeweler’s microscopic loupe. One can spot these holes as very small white dots on the gemstone’s surface.

Advantages of Laser Drilling

This method is widely used because it is permanent. The inclusions are removed forever and the durability and sturdiness of Diamond is maintained. The final look with respect to cut and shape does not change.

Fracture Filling

This treatment was also developed during the same time as Laser Drilling. It is used for filling the crack with the transparent glass-like solution. The solution used for concealing the flaws of the gemstone has a very low melting point and refractive index equal to that of diamond. The cracks do exist after the filling but due to the outer optical coating it becomes imperceptible to the normal glance. However, it can be easily noticed under the magnification.

Unfortunately this method is not permanent. The specially formulated glass filling can be eroded when the gemstone comes into direct contact with the hot sun. The ultraviolet rays emitted from the sunlight are powerful enough to eat away the filling. Even at the time of routine repairs the heat produced can also lead to glass filling worn out of the gem. The slight heat produced from the jeweler’s torch can also melt the filling. Also, cleaning of jewelry having the fracture filled might give the similar results. The glass filling melts at very low temperature.

Fracture Filling Leftover Marks

While filling the cracks with the glass-like solution there are some air bubbles that get trapped because glass is transparent. These bubbles are either seen individually or it gets grouped near by one another creating the cloud image. This is the most common left over sign of fracture filling clarity enhancement treatment. Secondly there are some flow lines within the glass. These lines are also called as flashes as they produce flash effects. These are referred to as such because the lines contain some light colours and it creates the effect when the gemstone is rotated. The colour varies from yellow, orange to electric blue or purple. The colour depends on the lighting conditions.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) suggests to look in for the unfilled cracks on the gemstone’s surface from the perpendicular angle to the fracture’s plane while the cracks filled after the enhancement process are more clearly visible when viewed from the parallel perspective to the filled fracture’s plane. This treatment is only recommended for stones of higher carat weight as the glass filling lasts longer. The small gemstone may not have fruitful results of this treatment.

The clarity enhancement processes might be picking up with the passage of time but are not completely certified from GIA. The Diamonds that under go any of these two treatments are referred as “clarity enhanced Diamonds” or “fracture filled Diamonds”. The price of these enhanced stones is much less than the natural untreated diamonds. Among the two processes the laser drilled gems are priced higher than the fracture filled diamonds as first treatment is permanent and second is temporary.

The acceptance of the diamonds that undergo these treatments is growing but problem creeps in when untruthful jewelers sell these clarity enhanced gemstone at the price of original diamonds to the innocent buyers. It is buyer’s duty to be careful while buying but jewelers must also maintain some ethics. The buyer should be informed which treatment has been used for the clarity enhancement of the gem and must be asked for the appropriate price.

The market is full of numerous attractive diamonds. Depending upon one’s pocket the decision could be taken whether to go in for the natural flawless diamond, gemstone with natural flaws or stones with enhanced clarity. It all comes with a price difference. The gem that has been processed to remove the flaws certainly looks of higher quality unless it is seen under magnifying loupe. Once it is mounted in the jewelry it is hard to tell the difference with the naked eyes. It can be a good option if it is priced accordingly and the jeweler is truthful and reputable. Enhanced or natural, a diamond is precious and to own it gives one great satisfaction and happiness. So the choice is yours!!

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