The debate over enhanced diamonds vs natural diamonds is complex, with arguments on both sides surrounding issues of quality and value. In this article, we will explore the differences between the two types of diamonds and examine the various factors to consider.
What Are Enhanced and Natural Diamonds?
Diamonds are one of the most sought-after gemstones in the world, valued for their beauty, rarity, and durability. When it comes to diamonds, there are two main categories: natural diamonds and enhanced diamonds.
Natural diamonds are formed deep within the Earth over millions of years and are mined from the ground. They are known for their unique characteristics, including imperfections or inclusions, which give each diamond its own identity.
On the other hand, enhanced diamonds are natural diamonds that have undergone treatments to alter their appearance, clarity, or colour. The treatments include irradiation, heat, or coating with a thin layer of another material to improve colour and laser drilling or fracture filling to improve clarity. These treatments are designed to enhance the diamond’s quality and appearance and to increase its value. While both types of diamonds may look similar, their origins and properties can vary significantly, impacting their ethical considerations, value, and overall quality.
The Techniques of Diamond Colour Enhancements
One of the most widely used techniques for enhancing a diamond’s colour is irradiation. This process involves exposing the diamond to high-energy radiation, which changes the diamond’s colour, producing affordable fancy colour diamonds. The most common colours produced by irradiation are different shades of blue and green. While irradiated diamonds can be visually stunning, some buyers may be hesitant to purchase them due to concerns about radiation exposure.
Another popular method for enhancing diamonds is high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) treatment. This involves placing the diamond in a chamber and subjecting it to high pressure and high temperature to alter its colour. HPHT treatment can produce diamonds with better colour than their natural counterparts, but some buyers may be wary of the process due to concerns about the diamond’s authenticity.
The coating is another method used to enhance diamonds. This involves adding a thin layer of material to the surface of the diamond to improve its colour. While coating can produce visually appealing results, the coating can wear off over time, resulting in a diamond that looks different than when it was originally purchased.
The Techniques of Diamond Clarity Enhancements
Clarity enhancement is a process used to improve the appearance of diamonds by reducing the visibility of inclusions or blemishes. The process involves a variety of techniques, including fracture filling and laser drilling. Each technique has its own benefits and drawbacks, and some are more controversial than others.
Fracture filling involves injecting a substance into fractures or cavities in the diamond to improve its clarity. The substance used is often a glass-like material that has a similar refractive index to the diamond, making it difficult to detect with the naked eye. This technique can significantly improve the diamond’s appearance, but it can also impact the diamond’s durability and value.
Laser drilling is another technique used in clarity enhancement. In this process, a tiny hole is drilled into the diamond to access the inclusion, and then a laser beam is used to remove or reduce the visibility of the inclusion. This process can be effective, but it can also impact the diamond’s authenticity and value.
Enhanced Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds
Enhanced diamonds are gemstones that have undergone a process to improve their appearance or value. These diamonds are typically less expensive than natural diamonds, but they also raise concerns about their durability.
One of the main benefits of enhanced diamonds is their affordability. Enhanced diamonds can be up to 50% less expensive than natural diamonds, making them a more accessible option for consumers looking for a visually appealing diamond on a budget. However, some buyers are hesitant to purchase enhanced diamonds due to concerns about the diamond’s authenticity because some enhancement techniques can impact the durability and value of the diamond over time.
For example, the fracture filling technique used to enhance diamond clarity involves filling in visible inclusions with a substance such as glass or resin. While this technique can improve the diamond’s clarity, the substance used can degrade over time, impacting the diamond’s appearance and value.
It is also worth noting that not all treatments used to enhance diamonds are the same. Some treatments are considered to be relatively harmless and can be used to improve the appearance of diamonds without significantly altering their natural properties. However, other treatments can have a more significant impact on the diamond’s physical properties and may not be as desirable to some buyers.
When purchasing an enhanced diamond, it is important to understand any enhancements the diamond may have undergone and to work with a reputable jeweller who can provide information on the diamond’s origins and treatment history. While enhanced diamonds can offer an affordable and visually appealing alternative to natural diamonds, it is important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks before making a purchase.
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