What Does "Clarity Enhanced" Mean and Should You Avoid It?

Clarity Enhanced Diamonds can provide nice savings for someone looking for a diamond. You can get a “nicer” diamond for less money. But should you?

First you have to understand what “clarity enhanced” means. “Clarity enhanced diamonds” are diamonds that went through any of a number of processes used to enhance a diamonds level of clarity. Diamonds have all sorts of blemishes and inclusions inside, many of which cannot be seen to the naked eye, but they still exist. The blemishes take down the value, and sometimes, when they are big enough or dark enough, can have a real affect on the appearance of the diamond.

The various processes used to enhance a diamond’s clarity are:

• Laser Drilling

• Fracture Filling

• Deep Boiling

Laser Drilling is a process in which a laser is used to drill a tunnel into the diamond in order to remove an inclusion. The inclusion might be dissolved by use of a chemical solution applied via the tunnel.

Laser Drilling will leave a tiny line which can be seen when looked at under a microscope from the sides, and you will see a simple tiny white dot when looking from the top.

Some laser enhancements also create cracks around the inclusions. That sounds pretty bad, as if the diamond is being ruined. The truth is though that these marks and “cracks” actually look more natural and nicer than the inclusions. It turns out that even though you are doing some minor damage to the stone, you are still improving it.

It is really a misnomer to say you have damaged the diamond by creating cracks, but I use that term because that is what it seems to be, not because that is what it actually is doing. When this process is done, those inclusions are gone forever, and the strength of the diamond remains intact – this tunnel or “cracks” will not affect the future strength of the diamond. As well, the inclusions removed are permanently removed – they will not return after some time. Sometimes they might fill the tunnel with a filler substance.

The GIA will not certify diamonds that have been enhanced by laser drilling.

Fracture Filling is a process in which tiny fractures, or cracks, are filled with a clear substance. Nothing is really being done to the diamond, but the appearance is being improved. The crack is not being “fixed”, but they become even more invisible or difficult to detect (with the naked eye).

Fracture Filling is not permanent. The filler material can erode, or darken, over time, via exposure to the sunlight, heat, cleaning materials, etc.

The fracture filling process can only be done to stones where the inclusion reaches the surface. Because no drilling is being done, the only way to inject the filler material is via the natural “hole”, meaning the hole has to reach the surface.

The GIA will not certify stones that have been enhanced with fracture filling.

Deep Boiling is a process in which the diamond is boiled under deep pressure using a highly acidic solution. This process can only be performed on a diamond where the blemish reaches the surface, as the material inside the blemish has to be able to come out and no drilling is being done.

Deep boiling is not a process for filling the hole or cavity, no external filler material is being inserted into the diamond. It is simply removing the “dirt” that is inside the diamond. The inclusion or blemish will remain, but it will be the color of the diamond instead of a black dot.

The GIA will certify stones that have been deep boiled. This process is so common, it is a standard and does not need to be mentioned. Diamond manufacturers will already just throw in whole batches of diamonds into the boiler without even inspecting them first to see which need it. It is simply part of the cleaning process.

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with a clarity enhanced diamond. If you are looking to buy a larger diamond or one with a better color, but it would be beyond your budget, getting one that is clarity enhanced is a great way to get a larger diamond for cheaper. The only problem is when the seller does not disclose the information that the diamond has been enhanced – if you are made to believe you are buying a non-enhanced diamond and are paying the value of a non-enhanced diamond, but then the seller gives you a diamond that has been enhanced, that is fraud like any other. As long as you know that is what you are buying there is nothing wrong with it. The integrity of the diamond has not been damaged. This is because I believe that diamonds are bought for their beauty, and what is important is what you can see and how it looks to you – not the investment value. Diamonds are rotten investments.


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