I was recently asked a question about clarity enhanced diamonds (also known as fracture-filled diamonds) and whether or not I thought they were “good” or “bad.” This, of course, brought on this blog post because I think that many people are not aware of these types of diamonds and the implications behind them.
A clarity enhanced diamond is exactly what it sounds like; take a diamond with a large feather (a surface reaching fissure that is a type of inclusion) and through a technical process insert a glass-like substance and make the feather less noticeable. Actually, the feather is still there, but after the process, it becomes invisible to the naked eye and only under magnification and much gemological training can the process actually be detected.
The biggest benefit about enhancing the clarity of a diamond is obvious: you can now get a diamond that looks clean to the eye at a much lower price than the same looking diamond that has not been enhanced.
So what’s the downside? The major risks become apparent when you bring your jewellery in for repair. The problem with clarity enhanced diamonds come when a goldsmith is fixing your ring and applies heat to the diamond. Now, a normal diamond would just take the heat because they are quite resilient. However, with a fracture filled diamond, the heat might possibly destroy the glass-like filler and reveal the hidden inclusion(s). If the diamond has a surface reaching fissure and was enhanced to make it invisible, and if the jeweller does not know this, the diamond’s structural integrity might be compromised and there is a risk of it breaking when the goldsmith applies pressure to it.
There are a few companies today that offer fracture-filled diamonds and most of them claim that the process is permanent. Unfortunately, this is not the case all the time and although the process can be done very well, sometimes it is not always permanent.
So, the most important thing you can do when bringing your jewellery in for repair, and if it should have a clarity enhanced diamond, is to be 100% honest about what it is. Tell the person taking it in that your item has a clarity enhanced diamond! Few retailers have trained gemologists on staff to alert the goldsmith should a clarity enhanced diamond come into the store. If the goldsmith doesn’t realize what he/she is working on, then there could be an issue.
The point is, if you decide to buy a clarity enhanced diamond, know what you are buying, trust the salesperson helping you, and trust the company they are working for. If you don’t you may be in for a surprise down the road.