If you’ve been looking for the greatest deal on the right diamond, you’ve probably visited a variety of websites and merchants. As a result, whether you realized it or not, you’ve certainly come across enhanced diamonds at some moment.
Let us enlighten you about what enhanced diamonds are.
Enhanced diamonds are highly included gems or reduced color diamonds that have been processed to increase their color or clarity. They are substantially less expensive than other varieties of diamonds.
A professional jeweler or diamond dealer will reveal if a diamond has been enhanced since it significantly influences the price and quality of a diamond. Sadly, selling enhanced diamonds as real is one of the oldest scams in the book.
Stay with us to learn more about this diamond group.
Generally, diamonds are classified into three main types – mined, enhanced, and lab-grown diamonds.
Mined diamonds are mined from the earth while lab diamonds are created in a laboratory. And enhanced gems are developed by humans to maximize profit and sell low-quality stones.
Enhanced diamonds begin as extremely included or poor color stones and are then subjected to particular treatment to improve their color or clarity. Although they have certain downsides, treatment seeks to lessen the appearance of imperfections or increase color.
Enhanced diamonds, as already stated, are distinct from natural diamonds, which are kept in their original condition and are not treated.
Diamond enhancements are classified into two categories: color enhancement and clarity enhancement.
Color enhancement is a procedure that seeks to help the gem look whiter or to have a particular color, such as yellow or green. On the other hand, clarity improvement is a treatment that aims to reduce the visibility of inclusions.
Clarity enhancement comes in four varieties: external laser drilling, special laser drilling, deep boiling, and crack filling. These techniques are intended to diminish the visibility of inclusions in diamonds.
They frequently have an effect on the diamond’s structure and brightness. Inclusions are, essentially “cavities” filled with a black substance. If you can wipe up the cavities, the inclusion will be less visible.
External Laser Drilling
A laser can be used to burn a minuscule opening in a stone that contains black impurities, such as big carbon inclusions that do not reach the surface. Once the inclusion has been opened up by the laser, the diamond is deep boiled to eliminate the black substance and clean out the inclusion.
A tiny tunnel inclusion formed in the stone where the laser is bored during the laser drilling procedure. The creation of tunnels diminishes the diamond’s durability.
Strong acidic chemicals are pumped into the entrance through that tunnel in order to dissolve and bleach away the impurities. A solution of concentrated hydrofluoric acid and sulphuric acid is commonly employed. This technique is not approved by the GIA. As a result, any vendor must legally declare the diamonds that have been laser drilled.
Special Laser Drilling
In addition to employing lasers to build surface-reaching tunnels, innovative internal drilling technologies have been studied and deployed in recent years. You’re undoubtedly asking why people would prefer to employ special laser drilling rather than ordinary laser tunneling.
The motive for using special drilling is a malevolent aim to deceive consumers, as this treatment is frequently concealed.
To access the inclusion, a special laser drill burns a tiny thin layer on the diamond’s surface. These thin patches are bigger than laser drill tunnels, yet they typically appear more natural. The smooth plane inclusion is simpler to fill than traditional laser drilling tunnels.
Diamonds with black imperfections near their surfaces are typically used for this sort of treatment. Following the drilling of the worm-like channels, the diamond is treated with a succession of bleaching treatments to eliminate the undesirable inclusions.
While the thin coating on the diamond is difficult to notice, it influences the diamond’s endurance and quality. The GIA does not endorse this method and does not provide certifications for gems that have undergone this type of laser drilling.
Gems are boiled under extreme pressure in an acidic medium using this procedure. The technique is performed on diamonds with black impurities that reach the stone’s surface. If an inclusion lies below the surface, the deep boiling procedure will not penetrate and affect it.
Deep boiling does not fill the hole. Rather, it eliminates the dark substance, making the inclusion less visible. Deep boiling is a low-cost and widely used technique in the diamond industry.
Many diamond producers deep boil huge batches of diamonds to remove any black impurities that have made it to the surface. This treatment has no effect on the diamond’s price and is a well-known procedure. In reality, the only clarity-enhancing process authorized by the GIA is deep boiling.
Related Read: Can Boiling Water Damage A Diamond?
Inclusion holes are filled with a tiny quantity of silicon and other substances during fracture filling. Fracture filling works best for transparent “feather” inclusions, which are empty spaces that may be filled to seem practically undetectable.
Because the filler has comparable optical qualities (refraction) like diamonds, flaws are less evident once the liquid filler solidifies.
However, fracture filling can affect the diamond’s look and brightness. The diamond may look perfect from the top, but when examined from other perspectives, the filling might interfere with the transmission of light through the sides.
Diamonds, because of their crystal structure, are chemically inert and very stable. What appears to be near-perfect following the treatment process may deteriorate with the passage of time. Worse, in severe circumstances, the filling may potentially fall out.
Another disadvantage of this procedure is that once a gem has been filled with a certain chemical, it is hard to reverse the process.
The Yehuda Diamond Company was the first to use fracture filling and is now the market leader in fracture-filled diamonds. Nonetheless, the GIA does not authorize diamonds that have been through a fracture filling procedure since it affects the stone’s beauty and lifetime.
Learn More: Can You Remove Inclusions From a Diamond?
Hue-enhanced diamonds are subjected to a high-pressure, high-temperature treatment to change their color. Gems with a small coloration may be subjected to this treatment to appear whiter.
Slightly tinted diamonds could also be color boosted to improve their hue and give them a particular tone such as yellow or pink.
The HPHT Color Enhancing Process
The HPHT color boosting method uses a cubic press to apply an ultra-thin coating of chemicals or polymers on the surface of the diamond. The additional thin layer could make a gemstone whiter or more striking in color.
Colorless diamonds subjected to this procedure may begin with a brown or yellow tinge and finish colorless.
Diamond vendors are required by law to indicate that a gem has undergone HPHT treatment since it permanently alters the diamond’s natural structure. The gem will be labeled as “HPHT annealed” or “artificially irradiated” on a GIA certificate.
Only treated diamonds with a permanent alteration are issued by GIA.
A color-enhanced gemstone is less valuable than a mined diamond since it underwent a non-natural treatment. The color enhancement is expected to fade with time, reducing the diamond’s brilliance and lifespan. Because of this, these diamonds are less costly.
Related Read: What Is The Difference Between HPHT And CVD?
Pros Of Purchasing An Enhanced Diamond
The most significant advantage of selecting an enhanced diamond over a gemstone is the ability to save money on your gemstone. Typically, enhanced stones sell at 30-50 percent less than gemstones.
Many purchasers demand a diamond that is colorless and free of flaws, limiting their options to only the greatest possible gems and significantly boosting the price.
Because defects are no longer apparent to the naked eye, fracture-filled enhanced diamonds have a considerable improvement in looks after treatment. Small fissures and feathering seem to vanish, but bleaching chemicals poured into the stone remove any color.
While the gleaming brilliance and cheaper cost of an enhanced diamond seem to make it the best choice, you must consider the long-term endurance of your diamond.
Cons Of Purchasing An Enhanced Diamond
Although the savings are significant, the long-term danger that your gem will tarnish and fracture is also real.
If you don’t take off your jewelry prior to participating in sports or doing manual work, you may end up damaging it. Most jewelry retailers provide a wide range of repairs, such as polishing.
Nevertheless, if you take your diamond jewelry piece in for any repair work without informing the jeweler that the gem has been improved, you may wind up with a diamond you don’t recognize after the correction.
Many repairs include the jeweler heating the piece to soften the metal, and this rise in temperature might cause significant harm to an enhanced diamond. GIA members retipped the mounting of many enhanced diamonds while the stones remained undamaged to see what would happen.
Almost all of the improved diamonds tested were unable to tolerate heat inside a furnace. Some filler began dissolving and oozing off the stone at temperatures ranging from 390 to 455 ° C, while the toughest filler remained solid until the furnace heat reached 600 ° C.
Repolishing is another method of treatment that can harm an enhanced gem. Based on the sort of filler employed, tests revealed that some diamonds leaked filler on the surface, resulting in a “pitted” look. In contrast, others created additional gas bubbles or acquired cloudiness inside the original crack.
If you buy a piece of jewelry that contains an enhanced diamond, you must tell your jeweler about its legitimacy in order to safeguard it. Ask the jeweler to take the stone out of the setting before performing any metalwork that requires heat.
Many chemical jewelry cleaners contain ammonia, a substance that might affect the diamond’s enhancement-processed section. As a result, while polishing any item of jewelry featuring an enhanced gemstone, you must employ exclusively ammonia-free jewelry cleaners.
Jewelry is frequently cleaned in jewelry shops using steam or ultrasonic cleaning equipment. The heat from the steam may cause the improved diamond’s filler to degrade and seep out of the gem, or it may stretch, leading the original fracture to worsen.
Research conducted by GIA members discovered that lengthy ultrasonic cleaning can harm the filler, diminishing its clarity. Depending on the chemical composition of the filler used to improve the stone, investigators discovered that the filler at the diamond’s surface was evident after 90 min of ultrasonic cleaning.
When a diamond is enhanced by fracture filling, the stone should appear flawless. Yet, based on the material used to fix the fractures, some may have even more flaws. Some fillers appear to be a fluid, glassy material within the stone, whilst others display gaps in the filling where air bubbles formed.
Any shallow region closer to the surface that is not totally filled may look like a white scratch on the stone’s surface, whereas large, filled fractures may seem broken and web-like.
One of the purposes of gem enhancement is to make it colorless. Unfortunately, except if your diamond has been HPHT treated, there is no guarantee that the enhanced hue will last. Fracture-filled enhanced gems differ in the chemicals utilized to replace the cracks in the gem.
Some fillers may look like a pale yellow, light brown, or orange-yellow tint within the diamond at first, while others may deepen or alter the color over time. In addition, depending on the filler mix, several stones shed a color letter when analyzed!
The chemicals utilized to replace the fissures in the stone differ between fracture-filled enhanced diamonds.
Do you spend many hours outside in the sun during the summer? GIA experts conducted tests to replicate the effect of sunshine on improved diamonds. Several fillers revealed deterioration within the gem after 60 hrs of being exposed to long-wave UV radiation.
Related Read: How Should A Diamond Look In Sunlight?
So, let’s sum up – what are enhanced diamonds, and are they worth buying?
Enhanced diamonds are originally extremely included or poor-colored gems that are then treated to improve their color or clarity. They are less expensive than other diamond kinds, however, they do not provide long-term value. They also can degrade in quality and are difficult to resale.
If you have an unreasonable expectation of purchasing a very large diamond on a limited budget, purchasing an enhanced diamond is one option. You simply need to recognize that you will most certainly overpay for a low-quality gemstone.
According to several studies, improved gems are not worth the money and hassle of purchasing. But, in the end, you must make the decision for yourself.