Buying clarity-enhanced diamonds is sometimes a cost-effective way to get a diamond of good clarity at an affordable price. But what are the pros and cons of stones that have had their clarity improved? Let’s take a closer look.
How Is the Clarity of Diamonds Enhanced?
Diamond clarity can be enhanced through two major methods: laser drilling and fracture filling.
Laser-drilled diamonds are stones that have had some of their flaws removed by burning them out with laser.
The procedure involves drilling microscopic channels in the stone to reach the inclusions that need to be cleared off.
Fracture filling is a process through which the channels created by laser drilling are filled with a crystal-like substance in order to make these tunnels less visible.
This procedure is also applied to conceal some more noticeable natural cracks or fissures within a diamond.
Pros of Clarity-Enhanced Diamonds
The most obvious pros of enhanced diamonds are their relative affordability and improved looks.
The biggest advantage to buying clarity-enhanced diamonds is their price.
A stone that has been treated to improve clarity can cost 20-30% less than an untreated diamond of the same clarity grade.
So, if you consider enhanced diamonds, you can get a pretty good deal on a stone with the clarity grade you are looking for.
Clarity-enhancing techniques can remove some prominently located flaws and turn a stone that has one or more visible inclusions into an eye-clean diamond.
Coupled with the bargain prices such stones are usually sold at, this improvement in appearance can be considered pretty good value.
Cons of Clarity-Enhanced Diamonds
The biggest potential issues with treated diamonds are related to durability, endurance, and altered appearance.
Potential Durability Issues
One problem with diamonds enhanced through laser drilling is that the tunnels created in the stone can undermine its durability.
This is usually not a problem with diamonds that have had only a few inclusions removed.
However, low-clarity diamonds that have had numerous and big inclusions cleared off through laser drilling can end up with a lot of tunnels, which could weaken the structure of such stones.
Fracture Filling Is Not Permanent
Diamonds that have been laser-drilled and whose channels have then been filled with a transparent substance should not be subjected to high temperatures or ultrasonic cleaning. Otherwise, the crystal filling could be destroyed.
This is actually one of the biggest downsides of fracture filling – its results are not permanent.
Diamond Brilliance and Color May Be Affected
Another disadvantage of fracture-filled diamonds is that the filler can affect their brilliance or color.
Since the glasslike filling substance has refractive properties that are different from those of diamond, the filled tubes reflect light differently and can thus create some odd optical effects (such as unusual colors in the stone’s sparkle).
Clarity-Enhanced Diamonds Are Hard to Resell
Unlike untreated diamonds, which can often be resold or exchanged for another stone, clarity-enhanced diamonds cannot be sold or traded in as easily once bought.
Many jewelers do not want to carry treated stones, especially if they have been fracture-filled.
Where to Buy Diamonds and Diamond Jewelry?
For diamond jewelry, we highly recommend James Allen because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before buying it.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).