In your search for a more affordable variety of diamonds, you will come across clarity-enhanced diamonds. What are they, and how long will these diamonds last? Are they worth the money?
This article takes you through the basics of these diamonds and everything else you need to know about them before you buy an engagement ring made of enhanced diamonds.
What is a clarity-enhanced diamond?
The clarity-enhanced diamonds can be defined as the diamonds whose clarity has been enhanced. In this case, clarity enhancement is a specific treatment process that is often performed on the natural (flawed) diamonds to reduce the appearance or even to completely remove the unsightly flaws in the diamonds, the inclusions, and the blemishes.
Put differently; clarity enhancement is pretty much plastic surgery performed on the low clarity diamonds like the I2 and I3 diamonds, hiding the inclusions or making them seem less visible.
The treatments on the flawed diamonds will remove all the imperfections, making previously imperfect diamonds look like the highly desirable and more expensive diamonds that are sold at a much higher price. The enhancement of the diamonds takes place through fracture filling or laser drilling.
Essentially, the enhancement process for the diamonds will have similar optical properties to the diamond that is not treated, and light will travel through the enhanced piece as it would a diamond with no enhancement and no or very few inclusions. The removal of the inclusions means that the diamond scintillates and sparkles as a natural diamond that has no inclusion and one whose inclusions have not been removed.
Bear in mind that at the end of the day, the value of a diamond depends on its sparkle, which, in turn, is affected by the presence or absence of inclusions or flaws. In case of the diamonds that require enhancements, there are too many inclusions that make the diamonds too dull and with no value. And it’s only through the enhancement process that the diamond is made new, more sparkly, bright, and worth some money.
Is a clarity enhanced diamond a real diamond?
Yes, the clarity-enhanced diamond is a natural diamond. The only difference between the clarity-enhanced and the diamond that doesn’t go through the enhancement is that the enhanced diamond previously had flaws called inclusions that were visible to the naked eye, but thanks to the modern diamond enhancement or inclusion removal techniques, the inclusions are filled up, and the diamond looks brighter and shinier.
Overall, the enhanced diamond costs much less than the natural, unenhanced diamond.
How long do clarity-enhanced diamonds last?
In theory, the results of the diamond clarity enhancement process should last forever. But because the enhancement process is rather aggressive, whether through the use of a direct torch flame or in highly concentrated acid, the enhancement weakens the integrity of the diamond.
Even though you will be able to wear the diamond ring every day if you want to, the diamond will only last a few years. There is just a lot that the diamond goes through during the enhancement process, from the heat and corrosives used and all the pressure the diamond has to withstand.
So whether through filling or drilling, the resultant diamond is highly susceptible to damage, and it can break easily if a lot of external pressure is applied, for example, during repairs or ultrasonic cleaning. There are cases when the stone’s filling leaks out during cleaning, and after some time, the diamond will grow dull, and it will eventually lose its sparkle.
So, if you are not sure about your diamond jewelry and how long the enhanced diamonds will last, it’s safe to say that it will only last as long as it’s well cared for. Also, it will look great for longer, only if you wear it occasionally.
Real diamond durability
Thanks to the enhancement processes for diamonds that result in the creation of multiple tiny tunnels in the diamonds that weaken the stone’s structural integrity, the durability of the clarity-enhanced diamonds is questionable, and it’s why these diamonds are not recommended.
But how do they compare to real diamonds?
Well, the real (unaltered) diamonds are quite durable. After all, the diamond is the hardest material on the earth, and it’s ranked 10 on the Moh’s scale, which means that it is super durable.
So, if you are trying to compare the durability of the enhanced and the unenhanced diamonds, the real unenhanced diamonds are definitely more durable than the unenhanced stones.
Diamond Vs. clarity-enhanced diamond – Which one lasts longer?
The real diamond that has not gone through the enhancement process will always last longer than the enhanced diamond.
Yes, even the diamond isn’t indestructible, but when it’s all said and done, the clarity-enhanced diamonds are poked and exposed to very harsh conditions that weaken the stone and lower the stone’s structural integrity.
The enhancement process, whether through laser drilling, which uses heat and injects chemicals to the diamond to reduce the appearance of the inclusions, or the fracture-drilling, which introduces resin in the diamonds to make the inclusions invisible, both affect the structural integrity of the diamond.
So, there’s no doubt that the real diamond that isn’t enhanced will last much longer than the clarity-enhanced diamond.
Tips for protecting your clarity enhanced diamonds
- Avoid exposing the diamonds to harsh conditions, such as frequent use of ultrasonic cleaners for the diamond jewelry. The agitation, heat, and pressure from the cleaner will only serve to further weaken the enhanced diamonds, which is why it is advised to avoid cleaning these diamonds in the ultrasonic cleaners unless it is absolutely necessary.
- When it comes to repairs, always let the jeweler know that they are dealing with clarity-enhanced diamonds. This way, when they are repairing or checking for weaknesses in the settings or prongs, they know to handle the diamond carefully. When informed ahead of time, the jeweler would be able to safely remove the diamond before they start to repair it. Unfortunately, there are jewelry sellers that will not disclose the specifics of the diamonds, despite being required by law to do this. As a result, it’s important to ask about the nature of the diamond and if it has undergone any enhancement treatment. This is especially true if the large sparkly diamond you just came across is sold at a very low price. Remember that just like anything else you wish to spend your money on if the deal is too good, it probably is. So, think twice about such diamonds, and ask around and educate yourself about diamonds. You can also tell more about the differences between enhanced and real diamonds by asking for the GIA certification – the clarity-enhanced diamonds will not have the certification.
- Store the jewelry safely when it is not in use, especially if you are in an area where the risk of damage to the diamond is high.
- Frequent checks and maintenance are important. Even though you shouldn’t expose it to the aggressive ultrasonic cleaner all the time, you can still clean the diamond ring using simple but effective home remedies. Handle the diamond with care when cleaning, and plug the sink if rinsing it under the sink. Regarding maintenance, take the diamond ring back to the jewelry store you bought it from regularly for maintenance. Using specialized equipment, the jeweler will know when some parts need to be repaired and how to clean the diamond in case it is dull, cloudy, or just discolored.
Diamonds are meant to last forever, but the clarity-enhanced diamonds will only last as long as you care for them or rather, how well they hold up to exposure to different conditions and environments, considering how much pressure they go through in the treatment that weakens the structural integrity of the diamond.
So, if buying the clarity-enhanced diamonds because they are affordable, just beware of the risks the diamonds come with.
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Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.