Beauty, perfection, timelessness: these are traits commonly associated with diamonds. We would all like to think that each and every diamond that graces every piece of jewelry underwent at least some form of tedious process of cutting and polishing--whatever it is that transforms them from translucent chunks of mineral to the perfect starry gem, looking like it was just plucked out, by hand, from the very night sky.
image credits: anchorcert.co.uk
However, this is not the case. If there is a saying that not all that glitters is gold, then not all diamonds are perfect. In truth, only a select few diamonds are ever deemed suitable enough for commercial use; the rest are either gathered together in the heap of industrial diamonds (they wouldn’t be given a chance to shine, but hey, not all people get to be movie stars; we need doctors and firemen too)--
---or tossed into the low-grade gem heap. These undervalued gems are then exposed to treatments that make them appear beautiful, but it’s not out of doing us a favor by giving us more diamonds. By all means, this is so you could possibly get a diamond for the price of half your mortgage, but in actuality, worth nil.
Say we give them a chance; low grade diamonds are still diamonds. But you would not want to be cheated out of a good deal. Treatments that are not included in the usual diamond processing are required to be specifically disclosed to a buyer.
But what kind of treatments? Bring these up whenever you find yourself in doubt:
Nature’s perfection is all about its little imperfections, so raw diamonds cannot help but be filled with them. With Laser Drilling, a microscopic channel is drilled into imperfections and injected with an acid that will make any imperfection less visible. Laser drilled diamonds are supposed to cost much less than their unlasered compatriots, and to make this worse, some jewelers believe that this treatment even needs to be disclosed.
Fractures and cavities that break the surface of diamonds are filled with a foreign substance to improve the appearance of the gem. The resulting effect is unnoticeable to the naked eye, but extreme heat from cleaning or pressure from the cutting or the reshaping of the stone will cause the fillings to break down, and the fracture will become apparent once again. What is dubious about this is that the fillings used still remain an unknown substance and its stability and durability still remains untested.
Now, on to colored diamonds. An authentically colored diamond comes into being when the mineral is affected by chemical impurities or structural defects. That being said, it is recently more convenient to synthesize color in diamonds, which is all very well, but problems do arise:
This is commonly done to disguise a low color grade, or to replicate the fancy colors. Cons to this treatment is that it varies, therefore making it unstable depending on which method is used. It would also cost more, because a coated diamond would require special care, as constant cleaning or recutting may damage the coating job.
This is a natural process that could be simulated in laboratories to produce a chemically natural color diamond. This helps in making poor quality stones appear like bright, fancy colored gems. Albeit being a widely accepted treatment, it is not recommendable when it comes to irradiating green diamonds, which change color when heated.
NovaDiamond Color Enhancement
This is developed by the European Gemological Laboratory: with a process involving high pressure and high temperature, low quality brown diamonds could be color-enhanced into fancy green and yellow colors. It claims that the effects are permanent, but there is yet to be a verification upon this claim. Of course, they are also hoping to move on to other color diamonds.
Now, it’s not like poor-quality diamonds are to be antagonized and are to be tossed into the recesses of haughty dismissiveness. Treatments are first and foremost, meant to make a low grade diamond appear as if it is more naturally attractive. Disclosure or awareness of treatments ensures that you will not be paying for a high-quality gem, but for a disguised low-quality one. After all, with diamonds, you might as well get what you are worth.
Kat is currently working as a jeweler's apprentice at Brilliance.com, an online jeweler which specializes in loose diamonds and custom engagement rings.
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This information can be a life saver. Thanks for the helpful insight.
Pocket Watch Blogger says:
Enhancing a diamond is not necessarily bad and I agree with the author. I just want to warn people about buying lab created diamonds. Folks, buy only natural mined diamonds. They really bring the joy and the have real value.