In ancient times, long before the development of diamond cutting, people preferred diamonds in their natural state. Because there were no scientific means to improve upon Mother Nature’s product, people enthusiastically sought out diamonds with as few imperfections as possible. Diamonds with irregular, asymmetric shapes, or those with stains that inhibit the stone’s brilliance, were simply discarded.
Improving Nature’s Work
Now, in the 21st century, after years and years of technological development, we have the ability to take Mother Nature’s work and enhance it. Various cutting techniques, evolved and even perfected over time, have allowed us to shape diamonds in remarkable ways. Examples include the Asscher cut, the radiant cut, and the classic round brilliant cut.
We have also achieved methods that could correct inclusions—imperfections within a diamond—and blemishes—imperfections on a diamond’s surface. These methods include laser drilling, a process that involves using a laser to drill into a diamond to burn out its internal imperfections, or at least produce a tunnel so that a dissolving agent could be introduced. Another common method is fracture filling, in which fractures on a diamond are concealed by filling them up with a crystalline liquid.
Clarity Enhanced Diamonds
These methods produce what has come to be known as clarity enhanced diamonds, so-called because their clarity, previously dimmed by various impurities, is enhanced through mechanical or chemical means. Whereas at some other point in time, an impure diamond would have been shunned, now it can be restored.
And yet, habits can be difficult to break, and sometimes people favor untreated diamonds to clarity enhanced diamonds. Why is it better to choose diamonds whose clarity has been enhanced?
The first, the most practical reason for favoring clarity enhanced diamonds to untreated diamonds is their appearance. The brilliance of a diamond depends upon light being able to pass through the stone’s interior unimpeded. Inclusions and blemishes prevent this. A clarity enhanced diamond would appear more brilliant and beautiful than its untreated counterpart. Even after being subjected to laser drilling, an enhanced diamond would still look better; the tunnel that laser drills into a diamond being enhanced are so minuscule you would need a microscope to see it.
Some people might favor untreated diamonds because they believe it to be genuine; its imperfections are proof of its genuineness. Clarity enhanced diamonds, perhaps because they are subjected to laser drilling or fracture filling, are sometimes perceived as synthetic. This is, of course, nonsense. Clarity enhanced diamonds are as natural as their untreated counterparts. The difference, of course, is that the former’s clarity has been enhanced.
A Better Bargain
Due to its imperfections, an untreated diamond would likely be appraised at a lower price point than diamonds naturally belonging to higher clarity grades. After undergoing clarity enhancement, the diamond would look better (and may even be rated few clarity grades higher) but would not cost more. Its monetary value remains at its original clarity appraisal. If you choose to purchase a clarity enhanced diamond, you would, in effect, be paying less for more.
Some customers worry that because clarity enhanced diamonds have been subjected to laser drilling or fracture filling that these diamonds are now more susceptible to breakage. This is simply not true. The durability of the diamond is preserved. However, additional care needs to be taken when it comes to maintenance. When bringing your clarity enhanced diamond to a shop for maintenance, it is best to tell your jeweler about the processes that the diamond underwent during enhancement. This way, the jeweler would be able to take the necessary precautions.
Clarity enhanced diamonds are the result of centuries’ worth of accumulated human knowledge about gemology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and art. For this reason, you can be confident that the enhanced diamond you purchase is not somehow inferior to an untreated one. It is, rather, superior, because it is the fusion of Mother Nature’s work and humanity’s craftsmanship.