What are Fracture-Filled or “Clarity Enhanced” Diamonds?

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The term “clarity enhanced” is an advertising term. The word “enhanced” means to become better or more desirable. In fact, the FTC says that a diamond dealer cannot use this term because it does not accurately describe the nature of the diamond.

A fracture-filled diamond is simply that. It is a diamond that is injected with a plastic-like substance that has the same refractive index of a diamond. This is done to conceal the flaws that are inherent and otherwise noticeable in a diamond. When the diamond is injected, the eye can no longer see the flaws. The injection does not make the flaws go away, but it masks them where they are more difficult for the average person to detect.

Laser drilling is another type of enhancement, and diamonds have been drilled for many years. The aim is to “explode” an otherwise noticeable black carbon spot. If done correctly, the black spot will turn into a very small white inclusion. In the diamond world, a white inclusion is much more desirable than a large black one. The overall clarity of a diamond usually does not change. Although the black spot disappears, there is now a long, thin, laser drill that is now in the gem.

Laser drilling does not alter the make-up of a diamond.  Fracture-filling, on the other hand, involves adding a foreign substance. It is no longer a diamond in the common sense, but part diamond and part silicone.

It must also be noted that the filling may not last forever. If an unknowing jeweler cleans the diamond jewelry in a powerful ultrasonic cleaner, or if he applies his jewelers torch near the gem, the filling will evaporate and the low-quality diamond will reveal its true self.

Fracture filled diamonds have become a big market in the diamond world. There is nothing wrong with selling “plastic” diamonds, just as there is nothing wrong with selling any diamond simulant. The problem is that some of these diamonds slip through the cracks and are sold to unwary buyers.

I do not sell fracture filled diamonds, although nearly all gemstones have been “enhanced” by heating, irradiating, drilling, and dyeing. When the substance of the gem has been changed, however, I feel the consumer has been cheated. A natural diamond is rare, beautiful, and virtually indestructible. It is the incredible gem that should be given to reflect the true nature of love.

 

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3 responses to “What are Fracture-Filled or “Clarity Enhanced” Diamonds?

  1. Hello, Color. This needs to be clearly expressed to the buyer. It is quite alright to buy or sell any type of treated diamond. The important part, however, is to make sure the buyer understands what he or she is buying. It is also alright for a consumer to simply ask, “Is this diamond natural, or has it been treated in any way?” Every diamond should also be accompanied with a detailed certificate ascertaining its quality by a gemologist.

  2. Very good information– it’s important to be informed consumers, especially with an investment item like a diamond. Question: as consumers, how will we know if we are looking at a fracture-filled stone? Is the seller required to disclose this? Or do we just have to take their word for it?

    • Hello Color. Without looking through proper instruments, a consumer would never know a diamond had been filled. Many years ago, I purchased two, ‘bargain-priced’ two-carat diamonds from a dealer. I was so concerned with cut and color that I didn’t pay much attention to clarity. When I got back to my hotel, further scrutiny showed me they were filled! Needless-to-say, my money was returned and that dealer has been banned from the business.

      Just like a home seller must disclose that a house has a large hole in the roof, a diamond seller must disclose that a diamond is “fracture-filled’, then explain fully what that means. My best advice is to go to someone you trust, has been in the business for many years, and use your intuition when dealing with jewelry stores or diamond brokers.

      MWatson@GalleryOfDiamonds.com
      http://www.GalleryOfDiamonds.com

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