Tag Archives: clarity enhanced

Diamond No-No’s

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So you’ve got a diamond.

A beautiful, sparkling, glorious diamond.  It can twinkle in the dimmest of light.  It can turn heads from across the room.  It is absolutely perfect.

Except for one little thing.  It has __________.

“Well, what’s the ‘blank’?” you indignantly wonder.  “My diamond has great specs!”  That may be, but there are factors that go beyond just the basic 4C’s that can have a surprisingly drastic affect on a diamond’s value. 

Let’s now take a look at some of the most prevalent and also some of the more obscure things that can negatively impact your diamond and its overall resale value.  

Fracture Filling

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If your diamond has undergone fracture filling, you yourself may end up filled with despair.  This is a process that is applied to natural diamonds to essentially ‘fill up’ internal cracks within the stone (to improve their clarity – ergo, this is a brand of “clarity enhancement”).  The fractures are filled with a substance (a lead oxychloride glass epoxy) that has a similar refractive index to diamond (thereby maintaining its normal sparkle), in order to best mask the flaws to the naked eye.  If these cracks run all the way up to the surface, the glass-based glop can just be injected right in; if not, then the stone must be “laser drilled” to get in there (we’ll get to that whole practice in just a minute).  “So, what’s so bad about that?” you justifiably may be thinking.  The problem is this; the solutions used to fill in those fractures do not have the same remarkably high heat index that diamonds have.  So, when a jeweler is positioning a diamond into a new piece of jewelry, or even just fixing a banged up old band or what have you, they use a torch.  This torch doesn’t damage diamond at all, but the heat can cause the diamond to ‘sweat out’ the filling material, like a fat man on a treadmill after a night of drinking spiked egg nog.  Hence, the fractures are now visible again and the stone’s clarity grade takes a nosedive.  Just how bad is this?  It’s so bloody awful that the GIA won’t even issue certificates for stones that have undergone fracture filling.  The most aggravating part of this whole mess is that some companies do not inform their customers that the stones they are purchasing are fracture filled.  So there you are, ignorantly walking around with a diamond that’s filled with other stuff.  Please at least attempt to refrain from murdering anyone who sold you one of these fracture filled farces.  

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Laser Drilling

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While this process sounds quite high tech (and a little James Bond-ish), it’s nothing to be that excited about.  It’s another method employed to remove ugly, nasty or just mean spirited inclusions in diamonds.  By drilling to the root of the undesired blotch in the stone (which is just a piece of black carbon that came together as the diamond formed), you expose the inclusion.  The you can pour a little, good ole fashioned sulfuric acid down the hole and burn that droll smudge out of there.  The drill that’s used is, of course, an infrared laser, and the hole that it bores into the stone is microscopic.  Meaning, you can’t see these channels without the aide of a loupe, microscope or psychically charged ‘third eye.’  The dilemma inherent in laser drilled diamonds is that their internal structure has now been messed with.  Who’s to say that the drilling process didn’t corrupt the integrity of the diamond; incipient cracks could be on the cusp of erupting at any time.  The stone may be fine, but there’s just no way to tell.  So as a result, professional diamond buyers are reluctant to acquire such stones – which may vengefully come back to bite them in the tuckus later.  

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Irradiation

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Take a long hard look at your diamond…do you suspect that it’s been violently blasted with neutrons and electrons?  Irradiation is a type of “color enhancement,” and if you have a white diamond, logic would dictate that you probably don’t have to worry too much about this (meaning that the process improves colored diamonds, not that it ameliorates a not so great white diamond’s color grade).  It’s a procedure that utilizes radiation in order to alter colored diamonds at the atomic level, amping their color up from a dull and listless hue to a bright and boisterous shade.  Aside from very rare cases where diamonds can actually undergo irradiation naturally, while still in the ground, stones that have been through this intense tanning bed experience are considered ‘altered,’ ‘treated’ and ‘fake-baked’ to diamond purists.  Translation: valued less.             

 

HPHT

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This abbreviation stands for “High Pressure High Temperature,” and is a procedure that has been riddled with controversy since its inception.  Scientists working at General Electric at the end of the 20th century discovered that they could, more or less, heat and squeeze all the hideous tints out of diamonds, thus making them clear as day.  A bit of an oversimplification, but the overall HTHP operation, which somehow zaps poor color out of white diamonds and also intensifies shades in colored stones, became embroiled in scandal when many of the diamonds that went through this molecular rigamarole were passed off as naturally occurring.  Again, within the milieu of diamond connoisseurs, these rocks just don’t fly as the real deal, and are intrinsically worth significantly less than their organic counterparts.  HPHT stones are given an intaglio on the girdle which demarcates their altered nature, but this can be easily removed, further fueling the ire directed at these augmented diamonds.  

 

Fluorescence  

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In all honesty, this one is a little baffling.  Here is an extensive run down on what fluorescence is and how it can affect your diamond – but the bottom line is that in today’s market, diamonds that exhibit strong fluorescence are unfortunately less desirable.  In the most basic, rudimentary terms, fluorescence is what turns a diamond blue when placed under a black light.  That’s it.  Once in an unfavorably blue moon, a diamond that has strong fluorescence may appear a bit milky when viewed in regular light, but this fickle property of fluorescence is usually just invisible altogether.  The reason why this currently is viewed as a negative is rather up in the air, but if your diamond has fluorescence, you’re up a creek sans a rowing device.   

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Doublet

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This is extremely rare in the diamond world, as it would seem that not even the most disreputable jeweler would try to dupe you with one of these, but stranger things have happened.  This is where the top portion of a diamond (the table) is a real, authentic stone; the bottom (the pavilion) however, is a simulant.  Either C.Z. or quartz or some other damnable fake.  The two parts are glued together and violà; a gem that reads as real when viewed from above, but is a total sham when you look up its rear.    

The only way to know for sure if your diamond has been cursed with any of these dastardly traits is to have it evaluated by a knowledgeable professional.  Thankfully, the expert gemology staff at Diamond Lighthouse is at your disposal.  If you possess a sizable diamond (1 carat and higher) that you’re looking to sell, we can perform a comprehensive test on in, making sure that it is not afflicted with any of the aforementioned natural or man-made maladies.  This evaluation and shipping are both totally free as well.  How’s that for service?  We’ll also find you the absolute best price imaginable for your diamond.  Find out more here

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-Joe Leone 

Diamond Engagement Ring Scams – and How to Avoid!

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So the time has come to make an honest woman (or man) out of your special someone.  What’s the next step?  Why, you need to purchase a gigantic (yet classy) diamond engagement ring to signal to the world “back off!” and to their friends “yup, that’s right, I am loved this much!”  Seems simple enough.  Now, just head to the local jewelry store (equipped with the 3 or 15 months worth of salary that you’ve been saving up) and snag a gorgeous, gleaming rock, slip it on your betrothed’s finger and then live sappily ever after.

But wait…could there be a flaw in your plan?   What if the jeweler…is trying to SCAM you??

Look, the people who sell fancy diamond jewelry, just like those who sell automobiles, buildings or scented candles, are trying to increase their profit margins.  If that means unloading a garbage stone on some sucker along the way, so be it.  Now, as far as you are concerned; don’t be that sucker!  Here are a few quintessential ways to avoid wasting your hard earned greenbacks and how to get the best lil’ diamond ring in the whole bunch!

If buying online, make sure they have a reasonable return policy (or any)  

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Here’s the potential problem with online purchases: the diamond engagement ring that you receive in the mail doesn’t look anything like the one in the picture (the ole “McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese commercial” versus what that monstrosity looks like in real life paradox).  Even worse, if the actual stone specifications that they supply are entirely inaccurate.  Ok, time to send it back – but then you read the fine print and see that they either do not accept returns of any nature, or that they happily do, but charge a restocking fee for half the cost of the item.  Do your research first: if a company has these sketchy return policies in place, then it’s probably best to avoid their business altogether (they are clearly anticipating a lot of returns for their shoddy merchandise).  A regular, non-shady online company will often charge return shipping or insurance costs, that’s the norm.

The easiest way to see if an online jewelry company is reputable?  Why, by checking online, of course.  A quick Google search will reveal a lot about any business that may have struck your fancy.  Just trust the reviews and check if they’re registered with the BBB.

Like certain selfies, good lighting can totally trick you

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There’s a real simple method to see if the diamond ring you are about to purchase is really “as good as it looks.”  Just take it outside, into natural light.  Yes, some stores may frown upon (or send security after you) if you take unpaid-for-merchandise out into the street, but not just because they think you will pilfer said gem.  They have special lighting set up in their stores, to maximize the color and sparkle of the diamonds, and once that puppy sees the harsh light of day, then taddah! …it’s revealed to be utter trash.  They do this by expertly (and deviously) tinting the store lights blue – this makes a yellowish, corn kernel looking stone appear as if it’s a perfectly pristine white diamond.  If the salespeople won’t let you cavort around the great outdoors with the ring you’re interested in, take it to an area of the store with the ugliest lighting there is; that’s right, fluorescent (the bathroom is usually a good locale for this).  If the diamond still looks sparkly there, then you’re in business.

Don’t be fooled by the rocks they don’t got

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Here’s a very ancient and basic ruse some jewelers will employ: they will proudly display or verbally relate that a ring has a specific carat size “This beauty here is 2.5 carats!”, yet it will not look that large at all.  What is going on here?  Are they out right lying?  Well, yes and no.  With this ploy, they are telling you the total carat weight, not the size of the main diamond.  Meaning, the primary diamond may be .80 ct, and is surrounded by a double halo loaded with 1.70 carats worth of minuscule diamond pavé.  Pavé is French for “paved” or, in diamond circles, “le garbage.”  Similarly sized baby stones are also called diamond “meleé,” and you’ll feel like you’re in quite the melee as you fight with the jeweler over what is what.  You see, 1.70 in diamond pavé is worth diddly squat compared to a single 1.70 sized stone.  Ergo, make sure you always are provided with the precise carat weight of the main event stone.  In tandem with the rest of the stone’s other “C’s,” you can get a somewhat accurate estimate of what the diamond should be costing you in a retail setting (by cross-referencing with other stores and online).

Trick or Treatment: same thing

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“Treated” diamonds are, ironically, not treated all that nicely.  Jewelers and the like use the euphemism “clarity enhanced” to describe treated diamonds, but what this term really means is that the stone has undergone “laser drilling” to remove dark internal crud from it.  These unsightly blemishes are known as inclusions, and once you remove them in this manner the stone can become weaker.  Another form of treating is “fracture filling,” where preexisting cracks are made to look a little less prominent and ugly.  Yet another incarnation of treating is color irradiation, where the poor thing undergoes actual radiation to improve its color grade.  Overall, these abrasive treatments can hurt the sensitive little diamonds, leaving them susceptible to chips, cracks and, in some cases, emotional breakdowns further along the road.  So if you see a resplendent diamond ring (at a decent price), with the subtle disclaimer that it has been “clarity enhanced,” just stay away.  It could be a ticking time bomb, just waiting to implode one day on your lover’s precious finger.

50% OFF! …no, just, no 

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If a diamond is offered at a blaring “50% off,” then the smart money is on the fact that the initial price was blatantly overinflated (by, oh let’s say, half), and the “sale” figure is just a regular price.  This is just common sense.  If a diamond ring is truly provided at a significant sale price, it’s because something horrible has happened to it (a tiny crack has now spread, it was revealed to have been stolen from a highly publicized heist, etc.)  It may be fine to purchase, just don’t delude yourself that you’re getting a “deal.”

At the end of the day, not all jewelers are nefarious, scheming and avaricious louts.  Just be careful not to sink your savings into a diamond engagement ring being hocked by one of the sneaky ones.  Follow the tips above, trust your instincts and maybe, just maybe, you won’t get scammed like a total newb.  If, after reading all of this, you still end up falling prey to one of those dastardly devices…there’s a huge sale on a bridge in Brooklyn you may want to check out.

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-Joe Leone