Before considering the 4Cs and everything else related to a diamond’s beauty, you should first consider your budget. In other words, think about how much are you willing (or able) to shell out for that diamond that you genuinely like.
Unlike the old days, the industry now offers a lot more choices than it did. Technology, and years of expertise and craftsmanship, have resulted in numerous substitutes for practical consumers who are balancing beauty and practicality.
In this article, you will find everything you need to know about clarity enhanced diamonds – what most consider as the cost-effective answer to buying a larger carat diamond. Find out about:
- What are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds?
- Types of Clarity Enhanced Diamonds
- Methods of Clarity Enhancement
- Are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Worth Getting?
- How are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Graded Compared to Mine or Lab Grown Diamonds?
Table of Contents
- What Are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds?
- Methods of Clarity Enhancement
- How to Distinguish A Clarity Enhanced Diamond
- Pros and Cons of Clarity Enhanced Diamonds
- Are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Worth Getting?
- How Are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Graded Compared to Naturally Mined or Lab-Grown Diamonds?
- Bottom Line – Are CE Diamonds Worth It?
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds?
Clarity enhanced diamonds are diamonds that go through particular treatments to improve diamonds’ inner or outer physical attributes. Generally, the objective of the treatment is to improve the diamond’s clarity.
The treatment is something you can also consider as “plastic surgery” for very low clarity diamonds to hide or make bothersome inclusions less visible.
After going through such treatment, the blemishes and inclusions are eliminated, consequently improving the diamond’s clarity scale. Diamonds that undertook such processes are called CE or clarity enhanced diamonds.
CE diamonds are becoming top players in the diamond industry, especially for buyers with budget as a priority. But, before you hop on the bandwagon, take a moment to research and study clarity enhanced diamonds.
Methods of Clarity Enhancement
Clarity enhancement involves two primary treatments for improving a diamond’s visible clarity – laser drilling and fracture filling.
Laser drilling is the most commonly used method for eliminating slight dark inclusions within the body of a gemstone. It is usually applied to prominent carbon inclusion or dark-colored crystals rooted within the diamond’s crystalline formation.
The method involves a tiny tunnel being drilled into the surface using a laser beam to produce a pathway to the inclusion. Strong acidic chemicals are forced through the tunnel into the opening to dissolve and bleach out the blemishes. Usually, a fusion of concentrated hydrofluoric acid (HF) and sulphuric acid (H2So4) is used.
In general, this method will not weaken the structural integrity of the diamond to a severe extent. Not will it leave any foreign material within the diamond after the technique is completed. The only observable sign of laser drilling, especially when proper drilling techniques are applied, is the microscopical tunnel that stretches from the surface to the inclusion.
Cavities and surface-reaching feathers are the main focus of fracture filling. Although they can be treated through polishing, fracture filling is a popular method to avoid significant carat weight loss. This method involves injecting glass or liquid glass-like filler material into the surface scratches or cracks.
Fracture filling conceals white fractures in the diamond called “feathers.” In this method, the glass-like liquid substance is inserted into the fracture to make it less visible while improving the stone’s apparent clarity.
This technique is pretty controversial for diamond treatment since the filling may get damaged or removed during routine cleaning and repair. Although the filling is very subtle when done correctly. So fine that a skilled diamond grader’s examination is needed to see its presence in the diamond.
Another technique in clarity enhancement that is sanctioned by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is deep boiling.
As the name suggests, this method involves boiling the diamond under deep pressure in a special acidic solution. However, deep boiling only works on diamonds whose inclusions are black and surface-reaching. If the inclusion cavity can’t reach the outer surface of the finished cut diamond, the acid can penetrate through the inclusion.
Similarly, deep boiling does not in any way fill in the cavity. It merely removes the black compound inside the diamond. So at the very most, this procedure can eliminate a very apparent black inclusion and replace it with a somewhat translucent white inclusion.
This method is cheap and common. Many diamond manufacturers simply deep boil an entire production of diamonds before the sorting phase to guarantee black inclusions that can be removed are removed.
How to Distinguish A Clarity Enhanced Diamond
Clarity enhanced diamonds are mined just like any other diamond out there, making them 99% genuine. The remaining 1% is for the work that has been done to them for improvement.
Aside from the GIA report that will tell whether they are enhanced or not, there is another way to know if the diamond is clarity enhanced. It is as simple as holding up a diamond and twisting it in the light. If you see a pink sparkle, that shows you the property of the glass-like material used for the enhancement.
Diamonds don’t scintillate in pink. But, an enhanced one will sparkle all the standard colors AND pink.
Pros and Cons of Clarity Enhanced Diamonds
Clarity enhanced diamonds are the perfect choice if you are looking for a bigger stone to work with your budget. They are relatively more affordable than other naturally mined diamonds. Too practical that you can get significant savings for an exquisite and stunning diamond.
On the other hand, be sure that you are only getting clarity enhanced diamonds from reputable jewelers. CE diamonds are often thrown with durability questions, particularly those that have gone through a process that involves drilling.
Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Pros
Clarity enhanced diamonds are less expensive – usually 30 to 50% less costly than non-enhanced diamonds. Therefore, saving a lot on your purchase is your most significant benefit. You can get a higher carat weight for the budget you are working with.
Treated diamonds have fewer inclusions and blemishes visible to the naked eye. They may appear more eye0clean at a glance. Small cracks and feathering appear to no longer be noticeable. Clarity enhancing techniques improve appearance in CE diamonds, giving them a pretty good value.
Clarity enhanced diamonds are 100% genuine and naturally mined. Their formation that must’ve taken over a billion years may have left them with inclusions and blemishes that clarity enhancements had to be done.
For that reason, these blemish and inclusion-filled diamonds enhanced can mimic the brilliance of blemish and inclusion-free diamonds at a lot lower price.
Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Cons
Clarity enhancement methods may undermine the durability of the diamond. While it is not usually a problem for diamonds that only had a few inclusions removed, it isn’t the same case for low-clarity ones that need to go through forceful approaches.
CE diamonds are inclined to damage when worn while playing sports, working out, or doing manual labor. The damage may require you to repair methods ranging from retipping to polishing. Before having a professional work on your damaged CE diamond, inform them ahead of time, or you may end up with a stone you can’t recognize after the repair process.
One method in clarity enhancement subject a naturally mined diamond to affect its brilliance and color. In fragment filling, the filling substance has refractive properties that are not similar to that of the diamond.
The treatment causes the filled tubes to reflect light in another way, creating some odd optical effects like unusual stone sparkle.
Clarity enhanced diamonds are hard to resell. Unlike untreated stones that can easily be resold or exchanged for another gem, CE diamonds can’t be sold or traded in as quickly once purchased. Many jewelers do not want to carry enhanced stones, especially if fracture filling treatment is done.
Maintenance for diamonds like cleaning involves cleaners using a formula containing ammonia – a chemical that can turn the enhancement-processed spot of the diamond. Thus, you will need to make sure that jewelry cleaners use only ammonia-free cleaners.
Also, jewelry stores often clean jewelry by steam or with an ultrasonic cleaning machine. The stream heat may cause the filler within the CE diamond to deteriorate and leak, or worst, expand and widen the treated fracture.
Are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Worth Getting?
The answer depends on your circumstance.
Some customers bought clarity enhanced diamonds and are very happy with their purchase. Then, there are those who aren’t. Generally, those that aren’t happy are those who weren’t told what they bought.
Some jewelers and consumers in the diamond industry frown on CE diamonds, particularly diamond dealers, because they brought less expensive, good-looking gems to the consumer. Clarity enhancement takes businesses away from them.
If you are looking to get the biggest stone for the provisions you have, a clarity enhanced diamond is your go-to diamond. But, if you are willing to shell out whatever it takes to get you the biggest and the highest clarity, you shouldn’t consider CE diamond.
Clarity enhanced diamonds are less costly than natural and lab-made diamonds. However, they don’t offer long-term value.
How Are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Graded Compared to Naturally Mined or Lab-Grown Diamonds?
The one thing consumers are always curious about when it comes to clarity enhanced diamonds is the difference in grading them compared to naturally mined and lab-grown diamonds.
Clarity enhanced diamonds receive different grading considerations than naturally mined and untreated diamonds. Given that before getting their clarity raised, they started with lower clarity, they are valued less than their natural counterpart.
Grading diamonds – any kind for that matter, involves a systematic approach to examining specific universally recognized characteristics about the stone. Practically, you can focus on the 4Cs of diamond quality. After all, the 4Cs system is the widely understood grading system for diamond trading.
It is said that the GIA clarity grades clarity enhanced diamonds as they would be before the enhancement process. Still, when the tradespeople examine it after treatment, it seems almost impossible to tell its original state without removing its enhancement.
Thus, it seems like in so many ways, the diamond trade is still in an uncharted territory seeking to fix a universally recognized method of clarity grading to clarity enhanced diamonds.
Some dealers also question how CE diamonds should be priced after clarity grading them. A percentage of dealers decide to value them for appraisal purposes as they would be without the clarity treatment. Then, add the cost of the treatment procedure it has undergone.
Logically, clarity enhanced diamonds are graded as they would be without the enhancements since they started in that state. However, it is not a feasible action since, after enhancement, one can only speculate what the diamond indeed looked like before the treatment.
This is why a consensus prefers valuing CE diamonds according to their comparables in the industry. Several retailers sell clarity enhanced diamonds today as simple as making a phone call or doing an online search.
Bottom Line – Are CE Diamonds Worth It?
The only valuable benefit from getting clarity enhanced diamonds is practicality. They can fulfill your need for a large stone at a minimal price but can’t guarantee quality and overall value. In short, CE diamonds are not worth recommending.
This recommendation applies especially to engagement rings or as centerpieces in any jewelry. If you look harder, you can get a better deal for your money with a naturally mined diamond that falls within your budget. Or, you can go with a lab-created diamond that can give you a better look, too.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Does clarity enhancement wear off? What happens if it does?
A: Yes. If the treatment wears off, it will leave your diamond with holes. In some cases, it may even leave cracks and feathers that are very apparent. The drilling path itself changed the inside symmetry and the polish of the diamond during the treatment process. Excellent symmetry and polish are two things critical for optimal brilliance and sparkle.
Q: Where can I buy clarity enhanced diamonds?
A: Online retailers like James Allen and the Blue Nile include a few pieces of clarity enhanced diamonds in their collection. Diamond dealers like Yehuda specialize in clarity enhanced diamonds.