Clarity is a major consideration when it comes to diamonds. However, not everyone understands clarity in precious stones and exactly what clarity enhanced means. Here is a closer look at the process, to help you find the best jewellery and precious stones for your money.
What is clarity?
Clarity means clearness of the stone. For example, if you look into a pond of clear water, you can see all the way to the bottom. You may see nothing if you gaze into a muddy pond. The less debris in the water, the clearer the pond is. The same is true with diamonds, as the fewer flaws, the clearer the stone.
Some precious stones are naturally clear and have few flaws or inclusions. Yet, this is rare and as a result, you pay a premium price for flawless or near flawless stones. However, you can have a stone with inclusions removed and it will give you all the fire and brilliance of a flawless rock when you choose clarity enhanced diamonds.
There are several types of diamond flaws that can be removed. Those flaws include discolorations caused by mineral deposits like iron. Stones may also have tiny cracks called feathers, due to their feathery appearance. And some have tiny spots of black coloured carbon. These flaws reduce the amount of brilliance or sparkle.
Clarity enhancement with lasers
If a diamond has very small carbon flaws, they can often be removed with laser drilling. Special infrared lasers are used to bore the tiniest of holes in the structure. To remove the inclusion, an acid solution is forced into the hole to effectively dissolve the carbon.
A fairly new process called KM drilling is sometimes used for clarity enhancement. This makes it possible to drill from within, creating a channel that is microscopic in size. That makes the enhancement more difficult to detect.
Fracture filling process for clarity enhancement
When diamonds are formed, they are under enormous pressure and that can create tiny factures inside of the stone. This reduces sparkle or brilliance, greatly lowering the demand and value. The process of filling fractures has been around for thousands of years. Many years ago, fillers like oil or wax were used.
In the process of modern fracture filling, a patented material is used as filler. This effectively fills the fracture and lets the light shine through. In some cases, laser drilling may be used along with fracture filling.
Caring for Enhanced Stones
A clarity enhanced diamond is still a natural stone with all of the durability of a natural diamond. The enhancement will not be affected by normal wear. However, excessive heat may affect the enhancement, so special care must be taken when mounting in jewellery and making jewellery repairs.
If you look at clarity enhanced loose diamonds or ones in diamond engagement rings, you most likely cannot tell the difference between natural and enhanced. The drilling and filling process is done on a microscopic level and only someone that knows a great deal about precious stones can spot these repairs. In fact, some enhancements require a magnification of at least 10X to see the difference.