Treated Diamonds: What are They?

Diamonds are always desirable gems and there is hardly a person who can stay indifferent towards them. But the main obstacle on the way of buying that alluring diamond jewelry is a high price. One can opt for diamond simulants as a cheap alternative but it will be a very far reflection of diamond brilliance, luster and durability. But there is still an affordable option — enhanced or treated diamonds. One can have a range of prejudices concerning them, so in order to dispel doubtful myths there is a piece of information the customer should know before deciding on what diamond to buy.

Treated diamonds are also known as “diamond enhancements”, which means that a special type of treatment was performed on a natural diamond as a means of improving the gemological characteristics. What makes treated diamonds so unique is that the changes cover many things such as clarity and color.To improve the clarity of a natural stone, treated diamonds go through a laser procedure, which works by eliminating inclusions and then a special sealant is used to fill any cracks. Even the color of a diamond can be improved, giving it a higher grade. In fact, what makes this process so amazing it that there are even options to take a white diamond and give it colored qualities.

Before any jeweler can sell treated diamonds, they are governed by law under the United States Federal Trade Commission to disclose this information to any buyer. The process for improving clarity is very controversial. Most conventional gemologists and jewelers believe that a diamond in its natural state should not change other than to be cleaned up for sale. However, those on the innovative side believe this to be a tremendous breakthrough for the diamond industry.

Typically, treated diamonds trade at a huge discount based on a number of reasons. For instance, a large number of diamonds can be processed to a higher quality than natural diamonds found at the same or near level of perfection. People need to remember that only certain diamonds are chosen for treatment. In other words, treated diamonds are those that would be hard to sell. This means the diamonds have serious flaws such as fractures or inclusions, so unless they were treated they would likely never be made into beautiful jewelry pieces. Regardless, people should gain a better understanding of treated diamonds and the processes used.

First is the change of clarity, which is also defined as the level of a diamond’s purity. Every stone will have certain flaws but the level and intensity is what determines the stone’s clarity. The flaws identified would have a direct impact on the overall dollar value of a particular stone. Fractures known as feathers are common. For inclusions, which are also common, the value of the diamond would be based on the color, position, and even size of the flaw. To reduce the appearance of fractures and inclusions, treated diamonds go through a process involving laser drilling.

The laser drilling process for making treated diamonds is done on a very small scale. Each hole and change made is microscopic, requiring a steady hand and keen eye. Although this process has been used since the 1980s, new technology has made the process more precise. Originally used as a part of glass filling, today it is used to correct flawed diamonds. The process is done with an infrared laser that drills out fine holes so a pathway to the inclusions is created.

However, before the drilling begins, amorphous carbon is coated onto the diamond.. From there, a very narrow tube is burned to the inclusion location after which time the entire diamond is dipped into sulfuric acid. This way, any staining caused by iron oxide or crystals is completely dissolved. Using a fine laser beam, numerous inclusions can be removed.

Another aspect of treated diamonds is the filling of fractures. This procedure works great in hiding flaws, which is often done after the laser drilling has been completed and the diamond dipped in the acid. Specially formulated glass is then used to give the flawed diamond a perfect appearance. These glasses actually have a refractive index that makes the outcome incredible. Now, a trained gemologist would be able to identify treated diamonds by seeing the glass under a high powered microscope.

However, flow lines and air bubbles found inside the glass are usually not identified in treated diamonds. Then, there is the flash effect, which is colored flashes of light that can be seen when a treated diamond is rotated. The flash color is seen as a yellow or orange color, or a blue or purple color, which would depend on lighting conditions. Typically, these color flashes are the easiest to see when looking at the treated diamond from a near parallel position to the fracture’s plane.

For treated diamonds, this is a very controversial treatment, again because it takes a natural stone and changes nature. Treated diamonds are more fragile than untreated stones. The filling could come out if worked on with a jeweler’s torch or the clarity would degrade. In fact, there are some instances where the diamond would completely shatter. Even cleaning a treated diamond using ultrasonic waves might cause significant damage. People interested in quality diamonds should always have them inspected by a highly trained gemologist to ensure the purchase is for a real diamond and not one that has been altered.

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