John Cordova (Vice President of Human Resources, Robbins Bros.) gives expert video advice on: What is a 'treated' diamond?; What is a 'clarity enhanced' diamond?; Why would I purchase a treated diamond? and more...
What is a 'treated' diamond?
A diamond that is treated is a diamond that has been altered. It's look has been altered either to alter the color or the clarity.
What is a 'clarity enhanced' diamond?
A clarity enhanced diamond is a diamond that has been altered to upgrade the clarity. There are two ways to do this; one is permanent and one is not permanent. The permanent method for clarity enhancement is called laser drilling; in this case a laser drills a tiny pinhole to an inclusion or a marking inside the diamond that may be dark. That marking is then treated with a variety of methods to lighten the marking to make that diamond more desirable and therefore more sellable. The other method, which is not a permanent method, is fracture filling. In this case, a surface reaching inclusion or a crack in the diamond is filled with a silica like product that has the similar refractive index as diamonds. Over time and under repeated UV light or the intense heat of the torch from the jeweler's bench during re-tipping or sizing, that filling can actually fallout; so therefore it's not permanent. It can be redone, but it is something that you have to continue to redo throughout the life of the diamond.
Why would I purchase a treated diamond?
The main reason for purchasing a treated diamond is a reduction in cost. There are cost saving with diamonds that are treated as oppose to diamonds that are naturally more rare in nature.
What are the disadvantages of buying a treated diamond?
There are disadvantages to buying a treated diamond, but for different reasons. The first one, the laser drilling process which is a permanent one, is quite simply knowing that your diamond is not in it's natural state, that it's clarity was enhanced. The disadvantage of buying a diamond that is fracture-filled is knowing that that filling will eventually fall out and it will have to be replaced. So there is a maintenance issue that goes on with fracture filling that really isn't apparent in a natural diamond that hasn't been enhanced.
Are treated diamonds documented on grading reports?
Treated diamonds are required to be documented on the grading reports. Credible laboratories like the GIA, the AGS, and AIG will document the treatment used on these diamonds in the comments section of their grading reports.