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Buyers should always be wary of the terms “treated” and “enhanced” when shopping for diamonds, quite simply because they define a wide range of appearance enhancing techniques. Fracture filling is one of the most popular restorative methods used to treat diamond fractures; essentially, a transparent adhesive 'filler' used to mask tiny surface fractures and breaks that could affect aesthetic quality. Stones treated with this filler cannot be heat treated, or exposed to the heat of a jeweller's torch, since this can cause the filling to soften and leak out. Fracture filling is not always discernible under 10x magnification, however, there are a number of tell-tale signs to watch out for. These include trapped air bubbles, fragmented flashes of colour and cloudiness.
Laser drilling is another common method used to alter the outer appearance of diamonds and remove imperfections. The older method entailed boring a hole or channel into the diamond with an infra-red laser to access natural black carbon inclusions. The area is subsequently filled with black carbon crystal, and the entire diamond submerged in sulphuric acid (acid wash) until the crystal dissolves and becomes transparent. A similar technique has been developed to rectify small surface inclusions. However, instead of boring deep into the diamond, the laser creates small cracks in the surface around the inclusion, allowing it to be removed with ease. While laser drilling can improve the aesthetic quality of a diamond, it's important to note that neither process improves the overall clarity grade.
High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) is a relatively new method employed to mimic the natural variables responsible for producing diamonds. Under this process, a diamond may improve its color grade, say from light yellow to near colourless. Detection is a complicated process, and can only be done with specialist equipment at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
The GIA certify some treated diamonds, and customers may find themselves duped into purchasing one by the allure of marked down prices. At England Diamond, we are committed to maintaining quality standards, and therefore only sell authentic natural diamonds that have not been subjected to any of the aforementioned treatments. We source diamonds that are GIA certified, and conduct our own in-house screenings to ensure these quality standards are maintained.