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The Clarity enhancement technique in diamonds began in Russia in the 1970’s as an experiment to improve diamond quality of diamonds mined in Russia. This technique is now used by some diamond manufacturers and polishers in Israel and Belgium. It is now also used to enhance the clarity of rubies and other gemstones.
The process of clarity enhanced diamonds is very simple. The polisher uses very low quality earth mined diamonds in the region of £100-500/ct. The polished diamonds comes out as clarity of I4 – I7 with extremely large visible marks to the naked eye and unsaleable. The polisher then uses silicon (yes! the same used in breast augmentation techniques), to “fill” the fissures up. The term used is also called glass filled diamonds. This then improves the clarity of the mined diamond hence becoming saleable as unsuspecting customers then “love” the sparkle of the “diamond”.
An example of before and after sparkle in a clarity enhanced diamond is shown below. Before diamond wholesale value for 1ct stone £400, after clarity enhancement diamond value £1000+
When the supplier or even a “diamond grading lab” mentions that the clarity enhanced diamond is “100% natural”, it is completely incorrect. As a foreign material has been filled to close the fissures of the natural diamond, the finished diamond cannot be 100% natural. You can find thousands of examples of clarity enhanced diamonds on Ebay and other lower end jewellers. The advantage of buying a clarity enhanced diamond is that you would end up with a much larger diamond than a natural earth mined diamond for the same price. Any reputable lab like the GIA or IGI do not grade clarity enhanced diamonds, unlike natural earth mined or lab grown diamonds.
The main disadvantage is that the diamond bought is worth nothing as there is no dealer willing to purchase a clarity enhanced diamond. There are only a handful of dealers who manufacture and supply and they are aware of the quality hence even if they buy back the item it will be at nowhere near what you paid for it. As the market is limited you would have no choice but to sell at the price being offered by a handful of suppliers.
Another disadvantage is that any form of heat applied near the diamond would cause the silicon to open up inside the diamond causing the diamond to turn black or crack. You then have to send the diamond back to “refill” the silicon at an additional cost. At Marlows we do not sell or advise to buy a clarity enhanced diamond. Please check your diamond report very carefully, as these limitations are printed in small print.
Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, are 100% natural as they are grown from pure carbon in a lab using HPHT or CVD techniques. Hence the resulting diamond can be termed as a natural diamond, although grown in a lab. As more and more larger retailers start trading in lab grown diamonds, the market will regulate itself and in the long run, retailers will start having trade in prices for lab grown diamonds, just like earth mined diamonds.
If you want a larger diamond for the same price, opt for a lab grown diamond instead of a clarity enhanced diamond. You can call our diamond experts on 02074051477 for further explanation and an understanding of the diamond industry.