Whether you’re setting out to purchase an engagement ring or you want to purchase loose diamonds, don’t overlook enhanced diamonds as a viable option. Enhanced diamonds can be just as valuable, if not more in some instances, than loose diamonds that haven’t been enhanced in any way. Here’s a complete guide to enhanced diamonds.
What are enhanced diamonds?
There is a misconception out there that diamonds that are enhanced aren’t real diamonds. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Enhanced diamonds are real diamonds that come from the earth, like all other diamonds. They are not manufactured in a laboratory, and they can be just as valuable as diamonds that haven’t been enhanced in any way.
Loose diamonds can be enhanced in a number of ways. They can be laser drilled, fracture filled, or they can undergo a process called color irradiation and color annealing treatments. Within the diamond community, all of these processes are accepted forms of altering the diamond’s natural state of being.
Why enhance a diamond?
The purpose of enhancing a diamond is to bring its appearance closer to an imperfection-free state. While an imperfection-free diamond is an extremely rare find, many diamonds have a very small and limited number of imperfections. Because a diamond with fewer imperfections is more valuable than one with more imperfections, enhancing them to remove imperfections increases their value.
Fracture drilling is a process that injects a glass-like substance into a diamond in an attempt to hide natural imperfections that exist within it. The process enhances the clarity of a diamond, and is extremely hard to detect.
As the name of the process implies, laser drilling involves using a laser to create a thin pathway inside a diamond. Acid is then injected into the pathway where it travels along it to an imperfection within the diamond. The acid bleaches the imperfection out of the gem, therefore enhancing its clarity.
This process of enhancing loose diamonds is done by exposing them to high levels of ionizing radiation. The process changes the atomic structure of the gem, which in turn, alters the gem’s color. This process can also create a color that isn’t naturally found in diamonds or enhance a natural color rarely found in a natural diamond.
Also referred to as HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature Treatment), annealing involves manually replicating the natural environment diamonds are formed in, in nature; high pressure, and high temperature. The process also alters the color of a diamond.
There is some controversy surrounding the HPHT method of altering a gem’s natural color, but the GIA (Gemological Institution of America) grading reports clearly indicate when this treatment has been performed on a diamond, and the Federal Trade Commission requires that the process of HPHT be disclosed to consumers.
It’s up to you whether you purchase loose diamonds that have been enhanced. Just remember that in almost every instance, the value of the diamond is also enhanced.