Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Diamond Enhancements

There are a variety of diamond enhancements or treatments a diamond can undergo that can significantly alter the price of the diamond when compared to a natural diamond. The FTC requires all diamond merchants to disclose all diamond enhancements and treatments to their customers. Failure to do so can result in fraudulent charges and lawsuits against the diamond dealer. When buying a diamond, it is recommended to simply ask for a non-treated or enhanced diamond and have the merchant clearly indicate on the invoice somewhere that the diamond is in fact, not treated and 100% natural mined from the earth. Listed below are some treatments that are done with gemstones.

Bleaching : The use of chemicals or other agents to lighten or remove a gemstone's color to achieve a brighter/whiter diamond.

Gamma/Electron Irradiation : The use of gamma and/or electron bombardment to alter a gemstone's color; may be followed by a heating process.

Heating : The use of heat in a high temperature sintering furnace to effect desired alteration of color, clarity, and/or phenomena.

Infilling/Fracture Filling : The intentional filling of surface breaking cavities or fractures usually with glass, plastic, opticon with hardeners and/or other hardened foreign substances to improve durability, appearance and/or add weight. The foreign material will have a different index of refraction than diamond, and a trained gemologist can see the light bending within the stone.

Lasering : A laser is used to penetrate a diamond and remove certain black inclusions. Chemicals are then used to further reach and alter inclusions in diamonds.

Oiling/Resin Infusion : The intentional filling of surface cavities of a colorless oil, wax, natural resin, or unhardened man-made material into fissured transparent/translucent gemstones to improve appearance. (i.e., oil, man-made resin, paraffin, etc.)

Irradiation : The use of neutron bombardment, with the combination of any other bombardment and/or heat treatment to alter a gemstone's color.