Before answering the above question, let’s know first, what is a clarity enhanced diamond? Or what does a clarity enhanced diamond mean?
What Does Clarity Enhanced Diamond Mean
Diamonds, in general, are rated based on 4Cs (Color, Carat, Cut and Clarity). The higher a diamond is rated on these parameters, the more valuable and expensive it is. Out of these 4Cs, the clarity of a diamond can be enhanced further to reduce the inclusions in a diamond.
Inclusions in a natural diamond refer to the imperfection or flaws that make the diamond look less glossy and shiny. Although almost all the natural diamonds include inclusions but many a time those are invisible to the naked eye. The diamonds with large enough inclusions to be seen with the naked eyes are not as valuable and attractive as ones with invisible inclusion.
It is just because the light is not refracted with inclusions as it is without inclusions. So, to fix those imperfections, the diamonds are treated to make the inclusions invisible to naked eyes.
Can I Get My Diamond Clarity Enhanced?
The answer to this very common question is, Yes!
There are a few methods to treat the diamonds with inclusions (discussed later in the article). After the natural diamonds with inclusions or imperfection are gone through this process and the inclusions removed or made invisible, those natural diamonds are called “Clarity Enhanced” diamonds.
This clears, what does enhanced clarity mean in a diamond? And what is a clarity enhanced diamond?
But the next question that arises is if there is a difference between a natural diamond and a clarity enhanced diamond? Or what is clarity enhanced natural diamond?
What Is A Clarity Enhanced Natural Diamond
Predominantly, the clarity enhanced diamonds are just the natural diamonds which have been treated or altered artificially for inclusion(s) to improve their appearance. They are not lab driven or synthetic diamonds. Though the clarity enhanced diamonds are natural and thereby have similar properties as natural diamonds, the “improving” process might affect the durability and colour of a natural diamond. So, one should keep an eye on the methods used in the enhancement process of the diamond.
Therefore, “what is a clarity enhanced diamond?” is exactly same as “what is a clarity enhanced natural diamond?”
How can the clarity of diamond be enhanced?
There are majorly two types of clarity treatments that are used to enhance the clarity of the diamonds on a commercial scale:
- Laser Drilling
- Fracture Filling
This enhancement process is used to treat the minor inclusions in a natural diamond. The imperfections present in the diamonds look like dark patches within the natural diamond. These spots are a part of other mineral materials which get embedded over the years during the formation of a diamond. (Source)
- External Laser Drilling Treatment
What laser drilling does is to drill a tunnel into this inclusions using lasers. Then the hole is filled with strong acid, which is generally a mixture of concentrated hydrofluoric acid (HF) and sulphuric acid (H2So4). This mixture of acid penetrates the hole and react with the imperfection material.
This dissolves and flush out the inclusions in the natural diamond and makes an empty cavity at the place of the dark spot. This empty tunnel there can be filled or left unfilled as it is. As the tunnel is invisible to the naked eyes because of its microscopic size.
This is the process of forming laser-drilled diamonds. These treated diamonds have a better appearance than the ones with inclusions. This process of enhancing the clarity of natural diamonds is the External Laser Drilling Treatment.
- Internal Laser Drilling Treatment.
As the External Laser Drilling enhancement process is used for clarity enhancement. There exists an internal laser drilling treatment which is used for crook purposes in the diamond industry. In this process, the laser drilling is used deliberately in the natural diamonds to dig irregular patterns which resembles a feather-like structure. And then those natural diamonds are sold as natural diamonds with natural imperfections.
With the clarity enhancement treatment, we fill the cavities or crack present in the diamond naturally or the tunnels made by the laser drilling. It helps in making the cracks or tunnels in the untreated or enhanced diamond less visible via the naked eye.
In this enhancement process, we fill the cavities with a crystal-like substance, such as silicon and others.
The primary concern while filling a diamond’s cavity is that the filler substance should have the properties similar to the diamond. This helps in the refraction through the substance and diamond correspond to each other. As a result, the cavities get invisible to the naked eyes.
This clarity enhancement process uses a combination of extremely high temperatures (around 400° C) and high pressure to fill the fractures and create the clarity enhanced diamonds.
As we know, in the laser-drilled diamonds, the cavities are drilled and left unfilled. This can reduce the carat weight of the enhanced diamonds. Here, the fracture filling enhancement process helps to maintain the carat weight of the diamond. It does this by filling the cavities in those diamonds.
Now, these clarity enhanced diamonds might look almost the perfect ones. But the treatment process they go through might fade as time passes. Even, as the fillings get exposed to harsh temperatures or strong chemicals, these might start to degrade. But for the marketing purposes, companies do offer lifetime fracture-filled diamond repair even though the subsequent repair is found to be not as decent as the first one.
Pros and Cons of the clarity enhanced diamonds
After the basic questions like what is a clarity enhanced diamond? And how can the clarity of diamond be enhanced? It is the time to move on to know about the pros and cons attached to these clarity enhanced diamonds.
The two major pros of the clarity enhanced diamonds are:
- Clarity Enhanced Diamond Prices – Affordability
The clarity enhanced diamonds price much lesser than the untreated natural diamonds for any given carat weight. A natural diamond that has been enhanced to improve clarity can cost 20 to 50% less than a natural untreated diamond of the same clarity grade on average.
- Better Appearance
After treating the inclusions in the diamond during clarity enhancing process, the treated diamonds portray significantly improve in the appearance. The imperfections disappear, and the diamond looks more glorious than before.
Despite these pros, your decision to buy the clarity enhanced engagement ring may or may not be right. First, read the cons below to decide:
Cons of Clarity Enhanced Diamonds
There are a few cons when it comes to clarity enhanced diamonds:
- Durability: The cavities created during the laser drilling process may end weakening the strength of the diamonds. However, it is not common with one or very few tunnels. However, if the natural clarity of the diamond is quite low and a lot of tunnels are dug to remove the inclusions, then it lowers the durability of the laser-drilled diamond.
- Discolouration: The fracture-filled diamonds contain fillers. If the filler has different refractive properties than that of the diamond, then it can affect the colour and brilliance of the clarity enhanced diamond.
- Resell Value: The clarity enhanced diamonds as we know are treated, so their resell value and demand is quite less as compared to the untreated natural diamonds.
- Cleaning: Ammonia can alter and mess with the clarity enhanced diamonds. So, you should ensure an ammonia-free cleaner while cleaning any enhanced diamond jewellery. A study by members of GIA also found that extended ultrasonic cleaning, which helps in cleaning the jewellery can cause damage to the filler. The filler may leak out of the stone, causing the original fracture to widen due to the high temperature produced by the ultrasonic cleaning machine.
So probably, after reading this article, you got enough information about
- What is a clarity enhanced diamond?
- How can the clarity of Diamond be enhanced?
- Pros and Cons of the clarity enhanced diamonds and
- Relative clarity enhanced diamonds prices.
So, now you can decide about whether to buy your clarity enhanced diamond engagement ring or not. For more insights on diamonds, continue visiting Fabulously.