ABC News Expose : Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Sold Without Disclosure

DiamondsWe recently discovered that ABC News had released a story on their show, The Lookout, regarding jewelers selling diamonds without informing the consumer about their clarity enhancements. They sent two people undercover to the Diamond District in New York to secret shop jewelers. Out of the three jewelers featured on the segment, two had sold the undercover couple clarity-enhanced diamonds without proper disclosure.

Watch the segment here:

Part 1 http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/engagement-rings-diamonds-decoded-19633800

Part 2 http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/filling-diamond-19633819

So what are clarity enhanced diamonds?

Diamonds that are clarity enhanced are ones that usually start out with I2 grade clarity and lower, with extremely obvious inclusions. These inclusions detract from the overall appearance of the diamond and pose significant durability risk to the diamond structure. To make these diamonds more marketable, they can be clarity enhanced in order to mask the appearance of these inclusions and make the diamond more stable. Clarity enhancement is a man-made procedure that involves two types: laser drilling and fracture filling.

Laser drilling is the process in which a laser bores very fine holes (less than 0.2mm wide, which can be seen only under magnification) to reach a dark or black inclusion insideblog pic 5 of the diamond. The diamond is then submerged into an acid solution, which can now reach the black inclusion and bleach it to a transparent, sometimes opaque white. Laser drilling is a permanent enhancement process.

In fracture filling, surface-reaching fractures are filled in with a substance to make them less visible to the eye and under magnification. The most common filling is lead-based glass, which has a very high refractive index close to a diamond’s.  This is a nonpermanent enhancement process and must be disclosed every time the diamond changes hands. When a fracture filled diamond is exposed to high heat, such as from repair or cleaning of the jewelry, the glass filler can leak out of the diamond due to its low melting point. Even constant exposure to sunlight can erode the filler or darken its color. So imagine a jeweler sells you a clarity enhanced fracture filled diamond without telling you what it is, you then go to another jeweler and ask them to clean it or resize your ring – the results can be disastrous.

Unfortunately, a very small number of jewelers contribute to the majority of the bad publicity of the jewelry trade. Buying a clarity enhanced diamond is not a bad thing, but buying one without knowing is. That’s why it’s extremely important to find a reputable jeweler you can trust. Keep in mind that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is! Diamonds are priced based on their collective characteristics, and if one is less expensive compared to similar ones, there is a reason for that.

At Secret Sapphire we believe that honesty is the best policy. We take the time to educate our clients about diamonds and jewelry so they can make informed buying decisions. Our gemologist can go through a diamond’s lab certificate and inclusion plot with you, viewing the diamond under the microscope to point out the same inclusions as on the certificate. To start off your diamond search, come in for a free consultation or contact us at info@secretsapphire.ca.