In the 1980s in Israel, scientists discovered a way to enhance the clarity of diamonds. The revolutionary process optically eliminates "feathers", which naturally occur in most diamonds. The result is a more visually stunning diamond that can be purchased for significantly less then a similar-looking, non-enhanced diamonds.
Clarity-enhanced diamonds at Israel Diamond Center are natural stones sourced from the same diamond mines as all other diamonds.
Today, according to various sources around the world, a growing percentage of the diamonds sold in retail jewelry in the West are clarity-enhanced stones. Yet, most of the time, the fact is not disclosed to the client.
It is important for you to know whether the diamond you are purchasing has been enhanced which is why IDC delivers gemological certificates stating "Natural Enhanced Diamond" with all enhanced stones, both loose and already mounted on jewelry.
Laser Drilling and Fracture Filling
The clarity enhancement process is not visible to the naked eye. Only a trained jeweler can detect clarity-enhancement.
Technically, the clarity enhancement process works like this:
Many diamonds come from the earth with feathers and tiny black inclusions inside them. Even if they are hard to see, they tend to scatter light and reduce the brilliance of the diamond.
To reach the inclusion, a laser drill is used to create a tiny hole reaching deep inside the diamond. Often the laser's heat will vaporize the speck. If not, acid is poured into the hole, usually dissolving the spot or bleaching it to a less noticeable white color. This technique is much like a car windshield crack treatment. It is a microscopic amount of material.
This material has the same optical properties as the diamond. When light travels from one medium to another, it either changes its course or reflects in a different direction. When light attempts to pass through a non-enhanced diamond that has a feather, the light hits the feather and reflects off in any number of directions. That is why we see the feather, and the diamond does not appear to be clean.
With a clarity-enhanced diamond, the light passes through the natural feather because the material used for the enhancement has the same optical characteristics as the diamond. The beam of light behaves as if it is still traveling through the same material (diamond) and continues its original course. The effect of this treatment can be very dramatic, turning a very "ugly" diamond into one that is remarkably brilliant. Such diamonds are sometimes called "fracture-filled diamonds".
The amount of material used to fill the feather is so microscopic that even the world's greatest diamond laboratory, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has reported that clarity enhancement process adds Zero Weight to a diamond. The treatment is considered permanent and the GIA will issue grades for laser drilled diamonds.
The holes are so small in diameter, it is very difficult to see that the diamond has been drilled. Still, looking at the side of the stone in very bright light may show some thin "threads."
The pictures below show examples of clarity enhanced diamonds, before and after the treatment.
All other things being equal, a treated, clarity-enhanced diamond costs less than one that is naturally as clean, giving the purchaser about a 30% advantage over a non-enhanced diamond. This can be translated into a price savings or the ability to acquire a larger diamond.
If you are looking for a diamond with a particular budget in mind, compare a non-enhanced diamond to a clarity-enhanced diamond at the same price. The clarity-enhanced diamond - with the same look - will be about 30% larger than the non-enhanced stone.
If you have a 1-carat diamond in mind, a 1-carat clarity-enhanced diamond will cost about 30% less than a non-enhanced stone. So you are able to offer yourself a second stone for the same budget.
Under normal wear and tear, the clarity enhanced diamond is highly durable. We at Israel Diamond Center guarantee the diamond for life. It is safe to expose clarity-enhanced diamonds to ultrasonic cleaning, steam cleaning, heat up to 1500F and sunlight. It is not safe to expose clarity-enhanced diamonds to acid cleaning and soaking, torch flame, re-tipping or re-cutting.
In summary, you can treat clarity enhanced diamonds in the same way that you treat non-enhanced diamonds. Most people would never dream of soaking any diamond in acid, placing it in the flame of a torch, or re-polishing the diamond!
Israel Diamond Center has one of the largest choices of clarity-enhanced diamonds in Israel, and possibly in the world, all of which are delivered with adequate explanation and proper Gemological Certificates.
The color of a diamond can be influenced by two methods: irradiation with high-energy subatomic particles, and the combined application of high pressure and high temperature through a process known as HPHT.
These methods modify color, usually to turn J to Z classified diamonds into a more desirable fancy-colored stone. Because some irradiation methods produce only a thin "skin" of color, they are applied to diamonds that are already cut and polished.
Conversely, HPHT is used to modify and remove color from either rough or cut diamonds — but only certain diamonds are treatable in this manner. Irradiation and HPHT treatments are usually permanent insofar as they will not be reversed under normal conditions of jewelry use.
High-Pressure, High-Temperature (HPHT)
A small number of otherwise gem-quality stones that possess a brown body color can have their color significantly lightened or altogether removed by the HPHT process, which was introduced by General Electric in 1999.
HPHT is the process of taking a premature, slightly yellowish diamond and subjecting it to conditions identical to those existing below the surface of the earth. It is as if the diamond emerged from the earth too soon, and we are able to finish the process nature started, by applying pressure of up to 70,000 atmospheres and temperatures of up to 2,000°C, bringing the stone to a near colorless state. HPHT treatment is believed to repair inner crystal deformations and thus whiten the stone.
This process is done primarily by the Nova Diamond Company.
Diamonds suitable for this process have a high clarity grading. HPHT only changes the color of the diamond from yellowish to near colorless, or collection colors, without affecting any other of its traits.
Diamonds treated to remove their color by General Electric are given laser inscriptions on their girdles: these inscriptions read "GE POL", with "POL" standing for Pegasus Overseas Ltd, a partnered firm. It is possible to polish this inscription away, so its absence cannot be a trusted sign of natural color.
Natural diamonds that have been HPHT processed are significantly less expensive than stones of similar sizes, clarity and color that have not been subjected to any processes.
Since 1999, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) accepts HPHT processed diamonds for full grading reports, and as such helps enhance the reputation of these unique diamonds. Other internationally renowned gemological institutes have followed suit and therefore, HPHT processed diamonds are now available to consumers worldwide with the proper certification.
Treatment of diamonds is disclosed to Israel Diamond Center clients during the sales process and is stated both on accompanying Gemological Reports and IDC’s Guarantee.