Wanted to say that the weddingbee forum has been so informative and inspiring for me. Everyone’s rings are so pretty: big stones, small stones, alternative stones… simply lovely 🙂
I have come across several posts/threads discussing clarity enchanced diamonds and hoped that by sharing my personal experience and information gathered through much research it would be useful to some, and atleast informative to others.
Most people don’t know that the majority of diamonds are clarity enhanced. Most diamond manufactures use the only GIA approved/sanctioned enhancement process of deep boiling diamonds in special acidic solution that removes black surface inclusions. It does not fill the cavity of the removed inclusion; this process is commonplace, and is not looked at as a negative whatsoever.
Laser drilling is used for inclusions below the surface. A laser is used to drill a microscopic hole to the inclusion… the diamond is then boiled and using the commonplace boiling method to remove the black inclusion. There is also a “special” laser drilling method that does not drill a hole, but rather burns a plane to reach the inclusion within the diamond, leaving in it’s place a more natural looking feather.
And finally there is the fracture flling method that is used mostly for feathers; feathers are usually clean, open cavities that become nearly invisible with the microscopic solution is inserted. This process is usually used in tandem with the special drilling method … for the correction of feathers within the stone.
Contrary to myth, not all clarity enhanced diamonds are I1/I2/I3 clarity, opaque diamonds, or low-grade “dirty” diamonds. In fact, only 1 in 500 of imperfect diamonds are eligible for quality enhancement treatment. Operative word here being “quality”…. meaning if you’re going to spend the money on an enhanced stone, it should be clear and not still heavily included after the process (otherwise I’d recommend a big house certified diamond instead – like GIA, etc).
The clarity enhancement process can only improve an diamond 1 grade (so if you have a lower SI1 diamond, the enhancement will only boost it up to a VS2; if it is a higher SI1 diamond, the enhancement might be able to boost it to a VS1… all dependent on what type of inclusion(s), location of inclusion(s), size/quantity of inclusion(s).
Ok, so now that we have covered what the enhancement processes are, let’s get to the nitty gritty: Is it worth it? The answer is dependent on what the purchasers goals/desires are. Some people just don’t like the idea of it… and that’s fine. There are plenty of un-enhanced diamonds for purchase so this would not be a consideration for them. For others who want more bang for the buck, but are not really into the many beautiful diamond alternative stones out there, clarity enhanced diamonds are a possible consideration.
Just like any other diamond or gemstone, seeing the stone in person is important in deciding to keep the stone, or send it back. Every diamond is different so therefore the enhancement process will acheive varying degrees of impact. From my own experience, on the low-end, I would stay in the VS1 (post enhancement) category; but that’s because this is the same low-end for my un-enhanced diamonds. However I have seen eyeclean SI1, SI2 and even I1 unenhanced diamonds as the inclusions could be covered by prongs/setting or is just absorbed within the cut of the stone…. so the same could apply for clarity enhanced diamonds.
I owned a 2.24ct emerald cut clarity enhanced diamond solitaire. Loved it. Eyeclean… VVS clarity. The enhancement process was applied to remove a (that’s right, 1) feather, and a couple of below surface black spots: which means the special drilling process, along with the fracture filled process, were used. Brillant, shiny, eyeclean, stone (color of the stone: H). I wore this ring everyday, cleaned with a toothbrush along with warm, soapy water (ok, I did even clean it with a brush and toothpaste often lol, but would not do this today) …. never any issues. Never saw any imperfections. Cleaned the house with it on, did laundry with it on, cooked, grilled, went out on the boat in full Florida sun, etc…. Never an issue.
My cost of the beautiful stone back in 2006? $4900… set in an 18k white gold solitaire setting. When it came time to sell it in 2009, I sold it to a pawn shop (which always pays significantly below market), for $5200…. and that ofcouse was with the insurance appraisal the ring came with disclosing the enhancement process and the pawn shop’s gemologist review of the ring/stone. So no monetary loss…. at all. Since buying a clairty enhanced diamond is less expensive than a non-enhanced diamond… when you go to sell it, you will also receive less than you would if it were a non-enhanched diamond They increase in value just as non-enhanced diamonds do… just at the discounted (enhanced) level.
Thank you for letting me share my experience and information regarding clarity enhanced diamonds. For whoever is considering this route, I hope you found this useful. If you do go for a clarity enhanced diamond, just follow the instructions of using only warm, soapy water for cleaning (no sonic cleaners), no ammonia products, and if you bring it to a jeweler tell them its an enhanced stone… and have them remove the stone before using torch/heating work (which they would do with a non-enhanced diamond too). In other words, treat it the way you would any other expensive piece of jewlery you own 🙂