Many people are all too familiar with those pesky flaws their diamonds have. But can you get rid of diamond inclusions and have those irritating black spots removed from your diamond? Is there a way to improve diamond clarity?
Actually, there are several options if you are not happy with the clarity of your diamond: laser drilling, fracture filling, recutting, and if none of these options sounds good to you, you can always exchange your stone for one with higher clarity.
Laser drilling is a technique used to remove inclusions such as black spots of non-crystallized carbon or foreign crystals embedded into the diamond.
A very thin channel is drilled with laser from the surface of the diamond to the inclusion, which is then burned out.
After the procedure has been completed, there is an empty space left where there was previously the inclusion.
Technically, the resulting hollow inside the diamond would be considered a type of flaw, but it is not visible.
As for the tunnel drilled in the stone, it is usually thinner than a hair and is practically invisible; it can be seen only with a microscope.
The clarity of diamonds whose inclusions have been removed through laser drilling can usually increase by up to one grade (sometimes more).
The downside of laser drilling is that it can weaken the structure of the diamond. That’s not an issue if there are only a few holes drilled; however, if a stone has had a lot of inclusions removed this way, the sheer number of resulting channels and cavities inside it can make it easier to break.
After a diamond has been drilled to remove inclusions, the channels and hollows can then be filled with a transparent crystalline substance.
This is done to mask the remaining cavities and make the diamond look better.
The problem with fracture filling is that it is not permanent. The material used to fill the tunnels can melt or break if a jeweler uses heat to repair your diamond jewelry.
Not to mention that once a diamond is fracture-filled, it should not be put in an ultrasonic cleaner as it can damage the filling.
Another issue with fracture filling is that the injected substance in the diamond reflects light differently and can change the stone’s sparkle or even alter its color.
A problem worth mentioning is that if you have a laser-drilled or fracture-filled diamond and decide to sell it, many jewelers will not buy it because they prefer not to carry treated stones.
Another way to improve the clarity of a diamond is to have it recut. This means that the jeweler will take the stone and cut some material from all sides, removing some of the inclusions in the process.
The problem with this solution is that it reduces the carat weight of your diamond and you end up with a smaller and cheaper stone.
Needless to say, this method works if the inclusions are mostly close to the surface of the stone; if they are towards the center, you can’t really cut them out.
Exchanging Your Diamond for a Better One
The simplest way to get rid of annoying diamond inclusions is to exchange your stone for a better one and pay the price difference.
All clarity enhancement methods have costs associated with them in terms of service fees or a reduction in the value of the stone.
Ask yourself whether the additional money you will pay to trade your old diamond in is commensurate with the costs of the other solutions.
If it turns out that an exchange is the best deal of all options available, go for it.
A Note on Buying Enhanced Diamonds
If you are about to buy a diamond, you should keep in mind that since fracture filling is a treatment that is considered impermanent, the seller is obligated to disclose it to the customer.
On the other hand, if a diamond has undergone only laser drilling, this enhancement is not required to be explicitly disclosed as it is deemed to have a permanent effect.
However, laser drilling is indicated on the diamond grading reports issued by the G.I.A. – the laser drill holes on the stone are listed there, so if you want to find out whether a diamond has been enhanced, ask to see its certificate.